The online Christmas shopping rush has yet to hit last year’s heights, but e-tailers may still see a record year, according to two surveys.

Nielsen/Netratings’ Holiday E-Commerce Index found that the number of visitors to online trading sites failed to rise at all during the first week of November, compared to explosive growth at the equivalent time last year.

“Last year's holiday shopping season began with a big bang right after people put away their Halloween costumes”, commented Sean Kaldor, NetRatings’ vice president of e-commerce. “This year we are not seeing the same trends”.

However, although the growth in online traffic may not be as fast, the actual volume of e-commerce is set to rise to $11.6 billion from last year’s $7bn, according to a study by Jupiter Media Metrix.

This predicted that 35m US citizens will shop online this year, compared to 20m in 1999. Significantly, 6.3m of these will spend more than half their holiday budget on the web – around 294% higher than last year.

In fact, growth in online buying has been so great that 1999’s holiday season record for visitors to e-tailers was equalled in August 2000, an ordinary month.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline