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Heavy Social Networkers Fuel e-Commerce

ComScore released the results of a study using its Segment Metrix tool, which showed that heavy U.S. visitors to social networking sites are significantly more likely than average to visit leisure-oriented retail site categories, such as music, luxury goods, consumer electronics and apparel.

Heavy social networking visitors are defined as the top 20 percent of visitors based on time spent on social networking sites.

More than 95 percent of heavy social networkers visited retail sites in August, compared to 80 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience.

These heavy social networkers exhibited a particularly high tendency to visit the more leisure-oriented retail categories, including those featuring entertainment (music, tickets, books and movies), fashion (apparel, jewelry/luxury goods/accessories), and retail technology (consumer electronics, computer software and hardware).

"This analysis is consistent with the findings of a comScore study conducted last year, which showed that visitors to social networking sites are more receptive to online advertising for leisure-oriented retail categories," said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.

"There appears to be a natural synergy between the leisure categories and social networking sites. People typically enjoy sharing their experiences with these products, whether it's to talk about their new iPhone or the pair of designer jeans they just bought. Social networking sites offer the venue for those conversations to occur."

The current study also examined which individual sites attracted the highest percentage of visitors from the heavy social networking segment, revealing that the heavy social networkers have a strong propensity to visit retail apparel sites.

In fact, each of the top ten ranked sites were fashion and apparel sites oriented to young adults, including well known brands like Hollister, Pac Sun, and Abercrombie & Fitch, among others.

"Apparel retailers -- especially those geared towards younger consumers -- can benefit by considering the use of social networking sites as a marketing channel," continued Mr. Fulgoni.

"Savvy retailers understand that e-commerce represents only one component of the incremental sales that result from online advertising efforts, and that the Internet is a powerful medium for brand-building and driving in-store sales."

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