Black Friday Online Traffic Up 10% In 2008

Black Friday Online Traffic Up 10% In 2008

Nielsen Online reports that traffic from home and work to the Holiday eShopping Index increased 10 percent year over year on Black Friday, growing from 28.8 million unique visitors in 2007 to 31.7 million unique visitors in 2008 across more than 120 representative online retailers.

“Even with the weakening economy, an unstable stock market and a rising unemployment rate, Black Friday traffic to online retail sites grew at a double digit rate this year,” said Ken Cassar, vice president, industry insights, Nielsen Online.

Black Friday Online Conversations and Consumer Perceptions

To gauge consumer perceptions about Black Friday, Nielsen Online created a Brand Association Map™ (BAM), based on online discussions in blogs and online forums between October 1st and November 22, 2008. With the keyword “Black Friday” at the center, the BAM reveals words and phrases most frequently used when consumers discussed Black Friday. The closer the words are to the center, the greater the association.

Key findings:

  • Not surprisingly, shopping incentives were a key part of Black Friday discussions. The terms “deals,” “sales,” and “doorbusters,” referring to deep discounts intended to get shoppers in the door, were all closely associated with Black Friday.
  • Specific retailers were also mentioned in relation to Black Friday, including Sears, CVS, Wal-Mart, JCPenney, Staples and Circuit City, among others.
  • Consumers discussed specific products and gift ideas, including high definition televisions, video games, laptops and toys.

See Nielsen Online’s Black Friday BAM here.

Product Categories ranked by Growth on Black Friday (U.S., Home and Work)
Category Unique Audience Growth

11/21 to 11/28

Consumer Electronics 219%
Shopping Comparison/Portals 83%
Toys/Videogames 73%
Home and Garden 53%
Computer Hardware/Software 30%
Books/Music/Video 29%
Retail 20%
Beauty 16%
Apparel 3%
Flowers and Gifts -16%
Shoes N/A
Jewelry N/A
Source: Nielsen Online, NetView Custom Analysis

Top 10 Online Retailers Ranked by Unique Audience on Black Friday 2008 (U.S., Home and Work)
Site 11/21/08 UA (000) 11/28/08 UA (000) Percent Growth
eBay 9,227 9,871 7%
Amazon 6,503 8,448 30%
Wal-Mart Stores 2,923 6,029 106%
Target 1,780 4,196 136%
Best Buy 1,252 3,709 196%
Circuit City 639 2,889 352%
Dell 1,527 1,926 26%
Sears 1,478 1,639 11%
Kohl’s 1,018 1,601 57%
JCPenney 974 1,518 56%
Source: Nielsen Online, NetView Custom Analysis

The Nielsen Online Holiday eShopping Index is comprised of over 120 representative online retailers across twelve categories, and acts as a barometer to gauge the level of activity at online shopping destinations during the holiday season. The Index illustrates increased shopping activity through category growth.

View the complete report.

Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings in TIME, the Financial Times, by the Associated Press and Bloomberg, and on,, and Digital Daily.