IPhones and games consoles drive online search traffic

Iphones and iPod Touches have been the most searched for products online

Parents desperate to find this season’s must-have present for their kids have made the Go Go Hamster the most searched for toy on the internet in the run-up to Christmas, according to online information firm Experian Hitwise.

With high street stores rapidly running out of stock, consumers have been turning to online retailers to find the £9.99 lifesize, robotic hamsters. Searches for the Mr Squiggle Go Go Hamster in the run-up to Christmas are also likely to have been boosted by parents trying to find details of a warning issued earlier this month from a US safety watchdog that the toy contains potentially dangerous levels of a toxic chemical which has been linked to cancer.

However the list of most searched for products is dominated by electronic goods including Apple iPhone and iPod Touch this Christmas, followed by video games consoles. Searches for both toys and MP3 players have ballooned as Christmas approaches, with festive search traffic so far peaking in the week ending 5 December. Searches for toys and hobbies accounted for 13.6% of all online product searches in the UK that week, following an 18.9% increase in searches over the previous month.

Mobile phones were the only product that received more interest that week – picking up 14.4% of all searches. The third most searched for type of product was video games, boosted by interest in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which was the sixth most searched for product that week. Grooming products also look set to be a popular gift, with searches up 72.3% since October.

Visits to consumer electronics websites increased by 16.5% between October and November this year, the largest month-on-month increase in web traffic to consumer electronics sites all year. “UK Internet visits to consumer electronics retail websites always increase in the run-up to Christmas and this year they peaked during the week ending 5 December – a week closer to Christmas than compared to the last couple of years,” according to Robin Goad, research director at Experian Hitwise.

 “UK consumers are clearly holding out more for bargains this year and have been prepared to order online later. The week ending December 5th was also the peak in online product searches, so searches for products during that week are a great indicator as to the hottest gifts this Christmas.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/dec/15/online-search-christmas-presents

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