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An Online Christmas Carol: Part III

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-11-30

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"Christmas time…the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the [online] year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up [wallets] freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to [eBay], and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys…"

"Bah!" said Scrooge. "Humbug!"

Well, that's what he said at first. But upon further evaluation, Scrooge noted that the lad may be right.

And surely he was. Though the crowd had indeed been hornswaggled, Cyber Monday was a smash success thanks to all the media hype.

MSN Shopping reported a 52 percent increase in page views and 55 percent increase in page visits compared with Cyber Monday 2004, which is weird because Cyber Monday was only invented last week.

VisaUSA recorded online charges 26 percent higher than last year, an increase that brought in $505 million. Fifteen million employees shopped online Monday, a statistic that severely upset Mr. Scrooge.

In all, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings, holiday traffic to top retail sites surged to 27.7 million visits, up over 8 million since the day before. Over 11 million of those visits were won by eBay; over 4 million by Amazon; and 3 million by Wal-Mart.

Jupiter Research is predicting that 2005 online holiday sales will reach $26 billion in the US alone.

Mr. Scrooge's icy frown seemed a bit less, well, icy, upon the news. That is a lot of money after all. He browsed the projections.

--A 394 percent increase in apparel purchases
--A 296 percent increase in home and garden
--A 211 percent increase in jewelry
--A 180 percent increase in sporting goods
--A 44 percent increase in electronics

Some of Amazon.com's biggest sellers have been Dockers khaki pants, philosophy candy cane shower gel and bubble bath, Madonna's new CD, and QuickBooks Pro 2006 Financial Software for Small Business.

"These people will buy anything!" shouted Scrooge, imagining how nice it would be if someone more generous than he would drop a little Quicken into his stocking-if he had one, which of course, he didn't. Wasteful things.

But even if he didn't get his financial software, someone would be thoughtful enough to send him a PayPal gift certificate, which is available to any site that accepts it.

Meanwhile Bob Cratchit, when old Mr. Scrooge wasn't looking of course, was searching for something lovely and handmade at Etsy.com for Mrs. Cratchit.

Mrs. Cratchitt was looking for a new way to prepare a butternut squash, and Tiny Tim, was dreaming of an Xbox 360. Although, family and butternut squash casserole was just fine with him for Christmas.

"Gates bless us! Everyone!' he shouted.

Miss the first two parts? Check out An Online Christmas Carol Part I and II.

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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