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Despite reports of a consumer slow down on the High Street, online retail appears to be showing signs of a revival, reports Hitwise.

Traffic to online retail sites increased by 3.6% in the week ending 29th March, suggesting that while war continues and concern about a terrorism threat lingers, UK users are opting to shop online. At the start of the year retail sites accounted for 7% of traffic, and although traffic has fallen since then, early indications are now pointing to a gradual recovery. In comparison with the first quarter of 2002, visits to retail sites have actually increased by 20%.

Some of the strongest performing sectors in the first quarter of 2003 include Auctions (+40% increase), Flowers & Gifts, (+30% increase), Toys & Hobbies (+9% increase) and Apparel and Accessories (+8% increase).

Next entered the top 10 most visited UK retail sites for the first time this year, with users spending 7 minutes and 36 seconds on the site. 19.22% of traffic leaving the site went to Next Fresh Flowers, suggesting that users were buying flowers online for Mothers Day.

Online grocery sites continued to be the stickiest UK retail sites, with users spending an average of 22 minutes at Tesco Superstore and 21 minutes at Sainsburys To You However, more users book marked Iceland Online Store and Ocado (2.37% and 1.62% respectively), suggesting a stronger propensity for their customers to return.

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About Hitwise

Hitwise is the only online competitive intelligence service that can provide companies with real-time insights into their online competitive environment. By partnering with a wide range of local ISPs, Hitwise collects anonymous information about the usage habits of more than 23 million Internet users worldwide, covering home, work and educational usage.

Hitwise is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and operates in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Hitwise UK in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit