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Big brand names wooing shoppers to Web

E-tailers with strong offline brand names are driving shoppers to the Internet, according to new research by Nielsen/NetRatings.

Popular offline brand names are bringing some calm to the volatile world of e-commerce, according to new research released Wednesday.

E-tailers with strong offline brand names are driving shoppers to the Internet, according to research by Nielsen/NetRatings, the audience-measurement unit of Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings.

Walmart.com was top dog, attracting over 2 million unique visitors, a 133 percent jump from last year, according to the findings. JCPenney.com was second, jumping 34 percent to 2 million unique visitors.

Kmart was third, with nearly 1.7 million visitors going to its BlueLight.com site.

Target.com seized the highest percentage growth among the retailer sites according to the data, rocketing 142 percent in June to more than 1.6 million visitors, compared with 672,000 visitors last year. Sears.com rounded out the top five, with nearly 1.6 million visitors.

The race to get their offline customers online illustrates a commitment by the big-name mass retailers to use the Internet as a tool for shoppers, as well as showing that strong brand recognition and a large, established customer base is a "winning formula for brick-and-mortars," said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services at NetRatings.

But Wednesday's findings do not appear to indicate a new shopping trend. Even a year ago, when scores of dot-coms started going under, customers and industry watchers said more and more online shoppers were turning to the names they trusted.

The findings were based on a survey of 37,000 Web users during June. The survey measured 14 product categories, including clothing and apparel, computer hardware, flowers, music and toys.