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Nielsen/NetRatings Finds Consumers Back Online

If online audience measurement firm Nielsen//NetRatings' numbers released yesterday are right, then it's back to online shopping for war-weary U.S. consumers.

Traffic to major retail sites rose during the week ending March 30 after a dip in the prior week when the war with Iraq began. The surge was attributed to a return to a more regular daily life as well as new spring sales and promotions posted online.

"It's both a growth and rebound to e-commerce sites at the same time," said Lisa Strand, director and chief analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, Milpitas, CA.

Sites of discounters and specialty retailers saw the most traffic. During the launch of its Spring Savings Event, saw its audience share jump 120 percent to 404,000 visitors for the week ending March 30, up from 184,000 in the week before. For its part, saw its audience rise 29 percent to 423,000 visitors for the week ending March 30 vs. 329,000 on the prior seven days.

The gift registry pages of and, up 25 percent each to 192,000 and 227,000 visitors respectively during the week ending March 30, were most heavily trafficked for both sites. Similarly, traffic on rose 24 percent to 1.36 million visitors for the week ending March 30 compared with 1.09 million for the week through March 23. was up 18 percent to 369,000 visitors while and also were 16 percent higher at 179,000 and 892,000 shoppers respectively. Rounding out the top 10, and were up 15 percent to 349,000 and 326,000 visitors for the week ending March 30.
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