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Traditional Retailers Dominate Global E-Shopping


Nielsen//NetRatings’ first global analytical data highlights
online success of offline brands in Asia Pacific and Europe

AUCKLAND: February 15, 2001 – Nielsen//NetRatings, the world’s largest and fastest growing Internet audience measurement service, today released its first-ever analysis of e-commerce activity across Asia Pacific and Europe, finding traditional retailers have begun to successfully transition their brands online, enjoying blockbuster holiday shopping seasons as a result.

Nielsen//NetRatings is a service provided by ACNielsen (a venture between ACNielsen Corp., NYSE: ART and NetRatings, Inc., Nasdaq: NTRT), Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, Inc.

The findings are part of Nielsen//NetRatings’ new Global Analytical Services, which provide value-added analysis to Nielsen//NetRatings’ industry-leading Internet audience measurement data. Previously available only in the US, the services are now available to clients in Asia Pacific and Europe, reporting on regional and local data and trends across the 19 countries measured by Nielsen//NetRatings, with continued expansion as additional countries come online.

“Clients already refer to Nielsen//NetRatings to find out who’s online, where they’re going, what ads they’re viewing and clicking on and how much time they spend online,” said William Pulver, president of ACNielsen

“For the first time, clients can now use our Global Analytical Services to access global information on goods and services purchased via the Web, media content and use of online interactive services, as well as traffic and loyalty measures crucial for making financial decisions. No other service offers both analysis and data on as many countries as Nielsen//NetRatings. Today’s announcement is another significant step towards our goal of becoming the global currency for Internet measurement.”

Traditional brands and e-greetings card sites grab limelight in Asia Pacific
“The first report for Asia Pacific and Europe shows clicks-and-mortar retailers drove the online holiday shopping trend in both regions,” said Brian Milnes, spokesman for Nielsen//NetRatings Global Analytical Services.
“In Asia Pacific, we observed a two-pronged growth pattern. On the one hand, more surfers visited e-shopping sites, while on the other hand traditional retailers and local companies began to attract new levels of web traffic.
“In New Zealand, for instance, visits to and surged leading up to Christmas.”
“Analysis shows traditional retailers made a strong showing on the list of top e-Commerce sites in the region. In Australia, seven of the top 25 e-shopping sites were traditional local retailers. These included Harvey Norman, David Jones and Myer Direct, all of which experienced surges in web traffic during the period with the biggest increases in December.”
Milnes attributed the online success of clicks-and-mortar brands to consumer trust and visibility. “The crucial advantage these sites have over their pureplay counterparts is trust,” he said. “In a year when e-commerce received little but bad publicity, the support offered to consumers by a familiar name was worth more than any advertising.
“Clicks-and-mortar retailers were also able to start their holiday preparations and marketing earlier and with higher visibility than their online competitors. Leaflets and signs in stores clearly alerted customers to the existence of the sites and the availability of goods online. Many sites ensured they offered as full a range of goods online as possible, even low-ticket items, and many encouraged users to compare items and ranges, aware that price comparison is one of the main reasons surfers visit e-commerce sites.”
Milnes said web traffic increased in all Asia Pacific countries during the holiday season with Singapore recording the highest growth jumping 31% from September to December. E-shopping visitor levels rose 10.7% in Australia, 8.5% in New Zealand and 4.4% in Hong Kong over the same period.
“It is thought much of the growth in Singapore can be attributed to visitors to e-greeting card sites, with the majority of growth in that market taking place in December,” he said. “Indeed, web audiences to greeting card sites surged across the region, pushing these sites to the top of the list of the fastest growers.”
“In New Zealand,, and all increased their web audience ratings over the holiday season.”
Milnes added the Chinese New Year holiday in late January was expected to keep these sites on top for another month in Hong Kong and Singapore, especially sites that offered Chinese greeting cards.
“ recorded a major increase in all markets,” he said. “In Australia, leapt 237% in three months. In Hong Kong, it gained 281% growth to reach nearly 4% of the active universe. In New Zealand, it surged 144% in three months, and in Singapore it grew 508% from November, the highest growth rate in the region.”
Hong Kong home-based surfers seemed to lag behind the e-shopping growth observed in the rest of the Asia Pacific region. “Because Hong Kong has the highest reach levels in the region for online community sites, entertainment sites and search engine/portal sites, it may be that people in Hong Kong have already accepted the value of the Internet,” Milnes said. “The initial uptake of e-shopping might be restricted because Hong Kong surfers are waiting for the appearance of more well developed and secure Chinese/Cantonese e-shops.”
He pointed out the compact island geographies of both Hong Kong and Singapore added an additional obstacle for e-commerce sites. “Since both cities are custom-built for offline shopping, online retailers must add even more value to convince shoppers to stay home and shop on their computers when going out is so relatively easy,” he said.
Offline brands capture UK users more than other European markets
In Europe, the increased online dominance of clicks and bricks retailers was most noticeable in the UK where e-commerce traffic to the websites of traditional retailers’ sites grew by a higher percentage between October and November than traffic to the entire e-commerce sector.

However, this trend was not as marked in other parts of the region, suggesting offline brands in other parts of Europe were less adept at leveraging their brand equity online.
“In Germany, for instance, none of the top 10 e-commerce brands in the run-up to Christmas were clicks-and-mortar retailers,” Milnes said. “Books and gift retailers, auction houses and online shopping portals predominated. In France the picture was rosier, with five clicks-and-mortar stores in the top 20 e-commerce sites.
“France is a fascinating e-commerce example because it has largely resisted the temptation of the big American brands. The recently launched has caught the online public’s imagination, but has never performed as well in France as it has in the other major European markets. One might expect local loyalty to mean that French clicks-and-mortar brands would do especially well, but currently French pureplays are benefiting just as much.”

Lessons Learned: Looking forward
Milnes identified several lessons from the 2000 global holiday shopping season for
e-commerce sites looking to increase their success in 2001. “The 35-49-year-old age group is apparently reluctant to use non-established brands, so for pureplays the lesson must be to find ways to expand their appeal to this group,” he said. “For example, Amazon has become a major online retailer by creating a clean, easy-to-use and easy-to-search online environment and then adding user-specific features. User reviews and wish lists which create the site’s sense of community are very much secondary to the simplicity of purchasing from the site.
“For traditional retailers, the mission must be to recreate online the brand’s key selling points, while taking advantage of the web’s possibilities for research and bearing in mind that customers who visit and don’t buy are far less of a wasted effort for clicks-and-mortar sites than for pureplays.
“Established retailers are only beginning to realize their online potential – most of their sites are very basic – and the successful clicks-and-mortar brands in 2001 will be those who use their online channels to increase customer loyalty to the integrated brand rather than to make a few swift dollars at the peak times of year.”
About Nielsen//NetRatings
Through strategic partnerships between NetRatings, Nielsen Media Research and ACNielsen, the Nielsen//NetRatings audience measurement service collects real-time data from more than 200,000 individuals with access to the Internet around the world. The U.S. panel sample currently consists of 62,000 individuals with Internet access at home and 8,000 individuals with Internet access at work. International panels are under development with over 130,000 individuals with access at home currently being measured in 18 countries, representing over 80% of global Internet browser activity. These panels collectively represent the largest research sample of Internet users in the industry.
Nielsen//NetRatings uses unique technology capable of measuring both Internet use and advertising to provide the most timely, accurate and comprehensive Internet usage data and advertising information in the global marketplace. Nielsen//NetRatings tracks the entire spectrum of Internet user behavior, leveraging proprietary data-collection technology from NetRatings, Nielsen Media Research's 50 years of expertise in research and audience measurement, and ACNielsen’s international leadership in offering market research information covering more than 100 countries. For more information, please visit

About ACNielsen
ACNielsen is a venture between ACNielsen (NYSE: ART) and NetRatings Inc. (Nasdaq: NTRT). ACNielsen is the world's leading market research firm, offering measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics, consumer attitudes and behavior, and new and traditional media in more than 100 countries, and NetRatings is the leading provider of Internet audience measurement technology and analysis. Through the Nielsen//NetRatings service, ACNielsen is creating the first global service for tracking audiences, advertising and user activity on the Internet in more than 30 countries worldwide.

About NetRatings, Inc.
NetRatings (Nasdaq: NTRT) provides Internet audience measurement and analysis services that enable its customers to make informed decisions regarding their Internet strategies. NetRatings delivers accurate and timely information collected from a representative sample of Internet users and augments it with detailed, flexible reporting and in-depth analyses.

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