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Making sense of online holiday traffic

Visitors to Walmart.com increased in December compared with the prior year, but decelerated from a record performance in November, according to the online measurement firm comScore.

Walmart had 55.8 million unique visitors in December, which was a pretty good dip from the 58.5 million visitors comScore data shows the company had in November. However, the December figure was still well above December the prior year when comScore showed Walmart.com with 51.4 million visitors.

It was a traffic pattern experience by other retailers who appeared in comScore’s monthly Top 50 Web properties report with the exception of Target where traffic declined from November levels and was flat with the prior year. Target had roughly 37.3 million unique visitors in December, down from 40.2 million visitors in November and roughly flat with the prior year.

Conversely, and in a pattern similar to that experienced by Walmart, December traffic at Best Buy and Sears was below November figures but ahead of the prior December 2010. Best Buy had 34.5 million visitors in December, down from 36.5 in November, but above the prior December’s 29.3 million visitors. Meanwhile, Sears had 29.8 million visitors in December, down from 31 million in November, but above the prior December’s 28.7 million. No other traditional retailer appeared in comScore’s top 50 report for December.

Walmart’s numbers for December looked good compared to the prior year, but Amazon left it in the dust. Amazon.com had 114.7 million visitors in December, roughly double that of Walmart, compared to 112.8 million visitors in November and well above the prior December’s 91.1 million unique visitors.

The traffic figures are a useful indicator of sales results and this year the size of the prize was $37.2 billion. That’s the volume of online sales comScore said online retailers generated during November and December, a 15% increase from the prior year.