Reflecting consumer pessimism toward the current economic climate, online retailers experienced a decline in visits for the eighth straight week, according to a report released Tuesday.
Traffic to a custom collection of 500 retail Web sites monitored by analyst Hitwise declined 3 percent for the week ending October 25 compared with the same week a year ago.
The declines mirror the overall decline in consumer spending the past couple of months. Visits to Hitwise's Retail 500 Index were up 14 percent from June through August compared with the same period in 2007, but then declined 4 percent in September.
"These declines have strong implications for the upcoming online holiday season as well as offline sales," Heather Dougherty, research director at Hitwise, said in a statement. "Everyone is aware of the role that the Internet plays to influence offline sales through research, so this slowdown may indicate a further ripple effect in sales in retail locations."
Online music retailers saw the greatest year-over-year traffic decline for the week of October 25, dropping 21 percent. Computers saw the second greatest decline at 18 percent, followed by ticketing at 12 percent. Toys and hobbies saw a decline of 10 percent, as did video and games, according to Hitwise.