More Consumers Than Ever Come Home to MSN eShop for the Holidays

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 28, 2000 — MSN® eShop today announced its most successful online holiday shopping season ever. By making it easy for holiday shoppers to find the right gifts quickly at the right price, MSN eShop, with its rich search tools and access to more than 100 of the Web’s top-branded merchants, capped off a banner year for the MSN network of Internet services.

The following statistics attest to the success of the online holiday shopping season:

  • This holiday season, visits to MSN eShop increased by 118 percent over last year — despite industry predictions that this would be a slower-than-expected retail season.

  • Dec. 18 was MSN eShop’s busiest holiday shopping day, with four times the number of visitors to MSN eShop merchants over 1999’s busiest shopping day.

  • In the peak week of the 2000 shopping season, MSN eShop had 30 percent more traffic than it had for all of the 1999 holiday season.

  • MSN eShop’s holiday gift guides had six times more activity than in 1999, presenting shoppers with on-the money, targeted gift suggestions in hot categories such as Gadgeteria 2000, Kid Gift-O-Matic, Outside Edge, Holiday Entertainment and Chic Shop.

“MSN has reached new heights in its content, its services and its connection with consumers,” said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of MSN. “We looked at what would make holiday shopping easier for consumers and helped to simplify their experience. This season’s strong increase in holiday shoppers on MSN eShop shows that users are embracing MSN as their home on the Web.”

Jerome Pache, vice president of business development at Mercata Inc., said, “Through MSN eShop, we were able to reach consumers who had researched the online market and decided on buying at our site. MSN eShop was a substantial part of our successful holiday season this year.”

The MSN eShop Holiday Bonus, which offered Microsoft Passport “wallet” users the option of free shipping or 20 percent off at participating merchants, helped contribute to that success. From Nov. 15 to Dec. 11, an average of more than 5,400 new people each day took advantage of the holiday’s best value on MSN by creating a Microsoft® Passport wallet to simplify their online holiday shopping experience. The Microsoft Passport wallet allows consumers to sign in at any participating Passport site and then sign in at other participating sites with a single click. Consumers can store information in their Passport wallet to help them make faster, safer online purchases at any Passport Express purchase site. Today, 33 MSN eShop merchants – more than six times the number at this time last year – honor the Microsoft Passport wallet for express purchases on their sites, including RadioShack.com, 800.COM, Blue Nile and Victoria’s Secret.

Of the several thousand gifts available on MSN eShop, holiday favorites did emerge. The following were top-selling gifts this season:

  • For kids, Poo-Chi, the interactive and computerized dog, was a popular choice. Many children also received the Spy Detector set, the Harry Potter boxed set, the Cranium board game and Razor Scooters.

  • Topping adult lists were digital cameras and “experience gifts” like Send.com’s Ferrari for a Day package.

  • Pets were not left behind, with more than 10,000 shoppers finding reindeer costumes for their dogs.

The increase in the number of MSN eShop consumers turning to the Web for the holiday also can be attributed to many of the new features and tools that MSN eShop offered this season. MSN eShop’s Gift Concierge service, supported with live 24×7 help, guided consumers to their personal gift solutions, making it an ideal shopping companion. MSN eShop’s Bargain Center conveniently grouped gifts of exceptional value into one central site, helping shoppers quickly find great deals on the Web. For last-minute gifts, MSN eShop’s Procrastination Central offered consumers gift ideas that could be ordered late and delivered by Christmas Day, including some that could be ordered Dec. 24 and still make it under the tree.

About MSN

MSN gives consumers a new home on the Internet — a central place where they can get everything they need from the Web and make the most of their time online. With more than 230 million visitors per month, the MSN integrated network of content and services is the most popular destination on the Internet. MSN is available in 33 markets and in 17 languages — a broader global presence than any other portal. MSN takes advantage of the Microsoft .NET platform to offer leading services, any time, any place and on any device, with the most integrated and personalized user experience for communications, search, shopping, personal finance and entertainment. MSN Internet Access and the recently introduced MSN Explorer offer quick, personal and exciting ways to get on to and take advantage of the Web. Best-of-breed services include the MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service, the world’s largest e-mail system; MSN Messenger Service, one of the fastest growing instant messaging services on the Web; MSN Search, the second most popular online search service; MSN Mobile, the customizable wireless information service; the award-winning MSN MoneyCentral™
online personal finance guide; MSN eShop, the one-stop online shopping resource; and MSN Custom Web Sites, the easy way to share information on the Web. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* Source: Media Metrix Custom Report, October 2000

Microsoft, MSN, Hotmail and MoneyCentral are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Michele Haskins, Waggener Edstrom, (425) 637-9097, mhaskins@wagged.com

Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7000, rrt@wagged.com

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