Tax sites experienced a strong surge of US activity in January 2011 as tax prep season officially commenced, according to new [pdf] comScore Media Metrix data. The category attracted 26.8 million visitors in January 2011, representing a 345% increase from December 2010.
Tax category site leaders such as TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxACT all achieved triple-digit gains during the month.
American Travel Plans Take Shape
Several travel subcategories saw a month-over-month spike in activity during January 2011, including transactions, ground/cruise, online travel agents and travel information. The overall category drew 114.6 million Americans, representing the category’s highest reach recorded by comScore at 54%.
Travel transactions sites achieved the strongest gains, up 29% to 3.5 million visitors. TravelPN.com led the category with 781,000 unique visitors (up 26%), followed by WWTE.com with 551,000 visitors (up 106%), OneTime.com with 508,000 (up 39%) and Viator.com with 497,000 (up 31%).
Ground/cruise sites also experienced significant growth, up 20% to 13.3 million unique visitors. Amtrak.com was the category leader with 2.2 million visitors, followed closely by Carnival Cruise Lines with 2.1 million visitors (up 113%). FirstGroup plc ranked third in the category with 1.7 million visitors, while VacationsToGo.com Sites and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. saw 1.5 million visitors (up 67% and 36%, respectively).
New Year, New Career
Many Americans started the off the new year looking for career services and development resources, with more than 80.2 million people visiting the category in January 2011. The job search subcategory saw the most prominent growth at 24%, ranking third among top gaining categories for January. 27.2 million Americans visited a job search site during the month, with Indeed.com taking the top spot with 11.6 million visitors (up 20%).
CareerBuilder.com drew 10.9 million visitors (up 27%), followed by Monster.com with 10 million visitors (up 35%), HotJobs with 5 million visitors (up 25%) and SimplyHired.com with 4.9 million visitors (up 29%).
The career resources subcategory displayed a slightly shuffled version of the top sites at the property level. Monster, Inc. ranked #1 with 25.5 million visitors in January (up 13%), followed by CareerBuilder LLC with 25.1 million visitors (up 29%), Indeed with 13.2 million (up 20%) and SimplyHired, Inc. with 5.6 million (up 28%).
Yahoo Kicks Off Year at #1
Yahoo Sites ranked as the #1 property in January with 178.9 million visitors, followed by Google Sites with 178.5 million and Microsoft Sites with 176.8 million. Tribune Interactive climbed nine positions to rank as the #32 property overall with 31.8 million visitors.
LinkedIn.com was not far behind at #36 after jumping 11 positions in the ranking with 29.8 million visitors. Sites that newly appeared on the top 50 ranking in January 2011 included Huffington Post (#41), Netflix.com (#44), Yelp.com (#45), Monster, Inc. (#47) and Bank of America (#48).
Google Ad Network Reaches 93% of Online Americans
Google Ad Network led the January 2011 Ad Focus ranking with a reach of 93.1% of Americans online, followed by Yahoo Network Plus with an 85.5% reach, AOL Advertising with 85% and Yahoo Sites with 84.5%.
Facebook.com crossed into the top 10 for the first time in January 2011 with a 72.3% reach.
E-commerce Spending Grows 9% in 2010
Total US e-commerce spending reached $227.6 billion in 2010, up 9% from the previous year, according to a recent white paper from comScore. “The 2010 US Digital Year in Review” also indicates that on a year-over-year basis, travel e-commerce spending grew 6% to $85.2 billion, while retail (nontravel) e-commerce spending jumped 10% to $142.5 billion for the year.