Multiple reports have indicated that consumers began their holiday shopping early this year, and the latest Media Metrix data [download page] from comScore appears to support this trend. Retail sites boasted 3 of the top 10 fastest-growing site categories for October, as consumers got an early jump on holiday shopping and shopped for Halloween. For the month, flowers, gifts, and greetings sites (31%) edged out political news sites (30%) as the top-gaining category.
PartyCity.com ranked as the category leader among flowers, gifts, and greetings sites with 7.8 million visitors, doubling its traffic from September. AmericanGreetings Property came in second with 3.4 million visitors (up 21%), followed by Gifts.com with 2.7 million visitors (up 38%), 1-800-Flowers.com with 1.5 million, and ProFlowers.com with 1.1 million (up 27%).
Traffic to toy retail sites increased 10%, to 18.4 million, with Toysrus Sites leading the pack with 8.1 million visitors, up 12%. The LEGO Group came in second with 2.8 million visitors, ahead of Disney Shopping with 1.8 million (up 25%), AmericanGirl.com with 1.2 million (up 42%), and Fisher Price with slightly less than 1 million (up 31%).
Apparel retail sites drew close to 73 million visitors during the month, a 9% climb from September. Zappos Sites was the category leader with 9.3 million (up 14%), trailed by Nordstrom.com with 6.9 million (up 7%), Limitedbrands with 6.1 million (up 4%), Nike with 5.2 million (up 3%), and OldNavy with 4.8 million (up 11%).
Traffic Hits Record Levels For Political News Sites
While not taking the mantle as the fastest-growing site category, political news sites achieved a healthy 30% month-over-month growth in traffic, drawing more than 60 million visitors. According to comScore, HuffPost Politics took the top ranking with 15.4 million visitors (up 25%), followed by CNN Politics with 13.5 million (up 56%) and NBCNews.com Politics with 11 million (up 31%). BarackObama.com came in 4th with 8.4 million (up 29%), while MittRomney.com ranked 8th with 3.8 million (up 71%).
These rankings differ from those from Compete, released earlier this month. Compete data found Political News-FOXNews.com to be the top politics website in October, with 9.7% share of market visits. Next were Real Clear Politics (6.3%), Barack Obama (5.7%), First Read (5.6%), and Politico (4.3%).
Weather Channel, Pinterest Move Up the Top 50 Rankings
Google Sites, as usual, ranked #1 among the leading web properties in October with 189.7 million visitors, up from about 187 million in September. Yahoo! Sites (169.7 million) overtook Microsoft Sites (169.2 million) for the second spot, with Facebook the 4th most-visited site again, with 149.1 million unique visitors.
Pinterest, which cracked the top 50 at #50 last month, moved up the rankings to number 46, adding about 1.4 million visitors (26.7 million). Also moving up the rankings was The Weather Channel, up 6 slots to 18th (57.2 million), as Americans tracked Hurricane Sandy.
ShareThis Maintains Top Ad Focus Ranking
Among syndicated Ad Focus entities, ShareThis kept its hold on the top spot with a reach of 94.6% of Americans online, up from 94% in September. Google reached 81.3% of the 220 million Americans online, taking the second spot, followed by Outbrain (77.4%), Yahoo! Sites (77.2%), and Facebook (67.9%).
Among ad networks and buy-side networks, Google Ad Network was first with 93.7% reach, followed by Specific Media (85.2%), AOL Advertising (84.8%), Genome from Yahoo! (83.3%), and AT&T AdWorks (83.3%).
Among DSPs, SSPs and ad exchanges, Rubicon Project REVV Platform reached 96.9% of Americans online, unchanged from the previous month.