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Online traffic down, but holiday sales set record

Online sales soared to new heights this past holiday season even though major retailers had a tough time attracting traffic during December. For example, Target.com during December had 37.3 million unique visitors which sounds like a lot and was enough to earn it the 30th ranking on comScore’s top 50 Web properties report released this week.

However, traffic to Target’s Web site actually declined 11% when compared with last December’s nearly 42 million unique visitors. A similar situation existed at other top Web properties. The number of unique visitors to Walmart.com declined 5% to 51.4 million from 54.2 million the prior year. Best Buy, Sears and Toys “R” Us also saw their unique visitors decline when compared to the prior year, according to comScore.

The traffic decline is noteworthy because this past holiday season online sales increased 12% to achieve a record level of $32.6 billion during the November and December time frame, according to comScore data released earlier in the month.

“Each year we see more Americans using the Internet as a tool during the holidays, with more than 85% of Americans online visiting a retail site in December, up from 80% last year,” said Jeff Hackett, a comScore EVP.