Travel sites grow in early-year chart

Hitwise today publishes the twelfth quarterly edition of the IMRG-HITWISE HOT SHOPS LIST, which ranks by popularity, as indicated by visits, the top 50 UK e-retailers selling goods and services within the IMRG Index Classification.


It’s all steady at the top of the latest Hot Shops List, with the leading six brands retaining their dominance of the UK online shopping scene.  Amazon.co.uk (1), Argos (2), Play (3) and Tesco (4) each keep their regular spots, while Amazon.com (5) and freshman Marks and Spencer (6) swap places.


IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops List, February 2009


1 Amazon UK
2 Argos
3 Play.com
4 Tesco.com
5 Amazon.com
6 Marks & Spencer
7 Expedia.co.uk
8 Thomson Holidays
9 easyJet
10 Next
11Currys
12 Tesco Direct
13ASOS
14 John Lewis
15 Thomas Cook
16 RyanAir
17 Comet UK
18 Dell EMEA
19 Epson UK
20 Apple Computer
21 PC World
22 HMV.co.uk
23 lastminute.com
24 GAME
25 B&Q
26 ASDA
27 Ebuyer
28 Littlewoods
29 First Choice
30 Debenhams
31 British Airways
32 LOVEFiLM
33 Ticketmaster UK
34 Topshop
35 Screwfix Direct
36 Sainsbury’s
37 River Island
38 Odeon Cinemas
39 IKEA
40 O2 Shop
41 Boots
42 Vue Entertainment
43 HP
44 TravelRepublic.co.uk
45 Travelodge UK
46 New Look
47 The Orange Shop
48 QVCUK.com
49 Dixons
50 Maplin



It’s all steady at the top of the latest Hot Shops List, with the leading six brands retaining their dominance of the UK online shopping scene.  Amazon.co.uk (1), Argos (2), Play (3) and Tesco (4) each keep their regular spots, while Amazon.com (5) and freshman Marks and Spencer (6) swap places.


Expedia (7), up nine places, leads the ten Listed travel companies, which generally do well at this time of year.  Thomson Holidays (8) cruised up fourteen hot spots, while easyJet (9) climbed three.  Thomas Cook (15) took a long-haul trip up twenty-eight places from the forty-third position it occupied last quarter, making it the highest riser on the List.  Not quite so hot were fallers Ryanair (16) and lastminute.com (23).  TravelRepublic.co.uk (44) came back in from its short break from the List, having dropped out last time, making its fourth visit.


ASOS (13) sashayed its way north again, having climbed the List during each of the past seven quarters, up from the forty-sixth spot in August 2007.


Comet (17) also continued moving in the right direction to reach its highest ever position, up from twenty-fourth last time.


The only new entrant was Epson, streaking in at 19.


IMRG’s CEO, James Roper, comments: “There is more movement on the List this time, as the battles for the top spots heat up.  Not making headway online increasingly signals that a retailer may be in trouble – as that is where all of the growth is, and e-retail growth is at the expense of the high street – so it is telling that still only half the Hot Shops List top ten are high street brands, and just thirty of the fifty Listed retailers have physical stores.


“These tough times will test brands’ staying power and we can expect to see many more radical changes in the retail space this year.  We are sorry to see dear old Woolies go, especially after it had finally started making good progress online, even making it into the top half of the List recently; but Woolworths seems set to live on as an online brand, though pick ‘n’ mix will never be quite the same again.”


Hitwise’s Director of Research, Robin Goad, said: “This is the busiest time of year for the online travel industry, so it’s no surprise to see seven travel companies moving up the rankings this quarter.


“Some of the largest players on the list – including Expedia, easyJet and Thomas Cook – are also up year-on-year, implying that the strongest companies are gaining market share during the downturn.


“Hitwise search data also tells an interesting story in the travel sector, with people switching from holidays in the Eurozone and the US to domestic breaks and flights to cheaper locations such as Turkey, North Africa and India.  The list also reveals the sectors that thrived online during the January sales.  There was a massive increase in searches for widescreen TVs after Christmas, and the likes of Comet and Dixons clearly benefitted from this demand.”



More information:


* Hitwise
* IMRG

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