Itunes Traffic Increases 1222% –

Itunes Traffic Increases 1222%

By K.C. Jones,

Christmas Day brought a dramatic surge in online traffic to sites that offer music downloads.

Hitwise, which monitors Internet traffic trends, reported a 413% increase in traffic to iTunes on the holiday in 2006 over 2005. The companyi attributed the growth to new iPod ownership and reported a traffic increase of 1,222% on Christmas compared to the previous Monday.

iTunes defeated Microsoft’s Zune with 30 visits to one, according to Hitwise. Still, Zune traffic rose 1,030% on Christmas compared to the previous Monday, the company stated.

“For the third holiday season in a row, the iPod has been the must-have Christmas gift,” Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, said through a prepared statement. “Competitive offerings have not yet succeeded in capturing the attention of music listeners.”

Traffic to the Apple Store rose 110% on Christmas in 2006, compared to 2005, making it the fourth most popular Hitwise Retail Index site that day.

Tancer said the increase in visits to the Apple Store “shows that iPod owners are also engaged in filling and accessorizing their new devices.”

Hitwise reported an average daily traffic increase of 5.9% from Thanksgiving Day through the Thursday before Christmas, compared to the same time in 2005. Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving saw the greatest increases over the previous year, with increases of 13.2% and 11.8%.