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comscore-top-gaining-web-categories.jpgRetail site categories boasted 5 of the 10 top-gaining web categories by percentage change in December 2011, including Movie sites, which grew 21% month-over-month to 43.8 million visitors, according to [download page] comScore Media Metrix data. Jewelry, Luxury Goods, and Accessories sites reached 28.6 million visitors during the month (up 19%), while Flowers, Gifts and Greetings sites attracted 34.1 million visitors in December, also representing a 19% increase. Sports, Outdoor (13%) and Books (10%) also posted double-digit gains.

Netflix.com ranked as the category leader among Movie sites with 34.7 million visitors, a 31% increase versus November, earning it a spot on the top-gaining properties list. Redbox.com came in second with 5.3 million visitors, followed by Blockbuster Inc. with 3.6 million (up 7%) and Walmart Movies with 1.6 million.

Within the Jewelry, Luxury Goods and Accessories site category, 6PM.com led with 2.6 million visitors, up 8%. BradfordExchange.com closely followed in second with 2.6 million visitors (up 30%), followed by Zale Corporation with 2.5 million (up 23%), Coach.com with 2.4 million (up 24%) and Kay Jewelers with 1.8 million (up 18%).

Meanwhile, Gifts.com secured the #1 position in the Flowers, Gifts, and Greetings category with 7.4 million visitors (up 31%), ahead of AmericanGreetings Property with 5.9 million (up 22%), Hallmark.com with 2.4 million (up 7%) and PersonalizationMall.com, with 2.1 million (up 65%). 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc. drew nearly 2 million visitors (up 19%), while ProFlowers.com drew 1.9 million (up 72%).

According to comScore data, total US internet audience inched down to 220.4 million from about 221 million in November. Nielsen reports that 212 million Americans were active online in December, and estimates that over 273 million Americans had access to the internet.

Shipping Sites Full Steam Ahead

36 million Americans visited Shipping sites during the month to send and track packages, an increase of 22% from the prior month. UPS Sites topped the rankings with 20.3 million visitors (up 31%), followed by USPS Sites with 15.5 million (up 33%). FedEx ranked third with 12.4 million visitors (up 22%), and Stamps.com Inc witnessed 1.2 million visitors (up 23%).

The Taxman Cometh

Tax sites saw an uptick in traffic in December as many looked to close their financial books or research the requirements for the upcoming tax season. More than 6.6 million visited a Tax site in December, up 29% to rank as the fastest-growing category.

Top Properties Retain Rankings

Google Sites ranked as the #1 property in December with 187.1 million visitors, up marginally from 186.7 million in November (see link above). Microsoft remained in the second spot with 177.3 million visitors, up 1% from 175.5 million, ahead of Yahoo, which also gained 1% to 176.5 million. iVillage.com: The Womens Network jumped 10 positions to rank #29 with 36.4 million visitors, while Netflix.com appeared on the chart at #33 with 34.7 million visitors.

According to Nielsen (see link above), Google ranked as the top property in December with 173.3 million unique visitors, although Nielsen’s data shows Facebook taking the second spot with 153.4 million, with Yahoo (144.2 million), MSN/WindowsLive/Bing (128.7 million), and YouTube (128.1 million) rounding out the top 5.

Google Extends Ad Focus Lead

comscore-ad-focus-rankings-dec-11.jpgGoogle Ad Network led the December Ad Focus ranking with a reach of 92.9% of Americans online, slightly up from its leading 92.8% in November. Yahoo Network Plus (84.9%) followed in second place again, but fell from 86.3% reach in November. AOL Advertising, which also ranked third in November, fell from 84.9% to 84.1%. AT&T AdWorks (82.9%) and ValueClick Networks (82.1%) both saw marginal gains.

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