VALENTINE’S SPARKS RISE IN NET USE
Byline: Valerie Seckler
NEW YORK — Hearts, flowers…and a stampede of new Net users?
That’s what could be in store this week at an assortment of romance-related e-commerce sites, as they clamor to capitalize on Valentine’s Day business, according to Jupiter Media Metrix.
The Web consultant and ratings agency found customer traffic to personals Web sites in January, for example, shot up 47 percent over year-ago levels, to 5.8 million users, from 3.9 million in January 2000, while 2.5 million shoppers visited fragrance and cosmetics Web sites last month, marking a 25 percent surge over the 2 million who did so a year earlier. Traffic on the World Wide Web, by comparison, grew 21 percent in January, pulling 83 million users, up from 68 million in January 2000.
“People are increasingly turning to the Internet as a tool, not only for shopping but for communicating with other people through e-greetings and personals,” noted Jupiter Research analyst Heather Dougherty in a statement set to be released today.
“Web sites must turn this traffic into a customer relationship-building opportunity,” she added.
During the two weeks preceding Valentine’s Day, Jupiter Media Metrix said, average daily visitors to Web sites that ran promotions, such as Victoriassecret.com, 1-800-Flowers.com and RedEnvelope.com, saw their traffic rise by a respective 14 percent, 98.9 percent and 100 percent.
Overall, women made up 53 percent of visitors to both beauty and flowers-gifts-and-greetings e-tail sites last month, including Sephora.com and 1-800-Flowers.com; while men accounted for 58 percent of those using personal ad destinations on the Web. Men were also bigger users of e-card sites, like Hallmark.com, constituting 52 percent of the 27 million who visited them in January.