MSN Shopping Wows Seasonal Shoppers, Rings Up Record $10.7 Billion in Sales

— The MSN Dollars program described below expired as of October 31, 2003. Microsoft has suspended the MSN Wallet service as of February 2005.

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 26, 2002 — Internet enthusiasts and savvy shoppers in the United States flocked to the MSN®
network of Internet services this holiday season in record numbers, spending $10.7 billion (U.S.) in the fourth quarter.* Despite a sluggish economy, consumers were captivated by great deals, innovative promotions and the convenience of shopping online at MSN Shopping.

“This season, online shopping has become an even more valuable service for holiday shoppers than ever before. MSN Shopping delivers what consumers want most: convenience, selection and great deals,”
said Jim Barr, general manager of commerce services at MSN.
“We focused our efforts on providing the easiest holiday shopping experience possible, with great products from first-class merchants, creative gift guides, exclusive offers and promotions resulting in millions of dollars in savings for consumers.”

MSN Shopping saw a 50 percent increase in traffic compared with the same period last year. In addition, more shoppers went online to get gift ideas this season. Nearly 70 percent of customers using MSN Shopping’s 24×7 gift concierge service were seeking gift advice for people on their shopping lists. MSN Shopping offered consumers great value; over 150 familiar brand-name merchants such as Circuit City Stores Inc., Neiman Marcus, Dell Computer Corp. and J.C. Penney Company Inc.; great comparison tools that ensure the best value; and a wide range of buyers guides, all with the convenience of avoiding the mall.

Holiday Trends

  • While in previous years, Consumer Electronics has been the most popular holiday shopping category on MSN, this year Apparel is most popular.

  • Movies, music and books continue to generate a high percentage of online sales.

  • Popular gift items searched on MSN Shopping this holiday season include digital cameras, MP3 players, wireless networking and Xbox (TM) systems.

  • Dec. 17 was the busiest shopping day this holiday season on MSN Shopping.

  • MSN Shopping was recently named the No. 1 shopping portal site according to Nielsen//NetRatings.**

  • MSN Shopping experienced over $1 billion in sales the week after Thanksgiving.*

In a recent e-spending report compiled by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Harris Interactive Inc. and Nielsen//NetRatings, holiday gift-givers spent $6.2 billion in November, up 22 percent from last year.** Consumers who visited MSN Shopping this season spent on average 26 percent more than the average Internet user in online purchases.*

In preparation for this year’s holiday season, MSN made the most significant enhancements to MSN Shopping in the portal’s history. Product information and research tools were greatly expanded, and the number of products quadrupled. For instance, MSN now offers consumers more than 1,600 brands to choose from in the Apparel category alone. Improved tools allow consumers to compare products across brands and manufacturers and shop for the best price.

MSN Shopping helped consumers shop easily and stretch their holiday dollars by offering discounts and services such as these:

  • MSN Dollars holiday reward. The MSN Dollars holiday reward promotion was all about giving customers the opportunity to earn rewards while showing appreciation for their choice to shop at MSN Shopping.

  • MSN Wallet. This free service makes online shopping quick and simple by automatically entering personal information on checkout forms when shoppers buy from participating online retailers.

  • Procrastination Central and Gift Guides. MSN Shopping’s expert buyers sorted through thousands of products and found the best gifts this season in several key categories. Along with Procrastination Central, which featured items guaranteed to be in stock from merchants with great shipping policies to help ensure that the products were delivered in time for the holidays, Gift Guides ensured that gift-giving at MSN Shopping couldn’t be easier.

  • MSN Shopping Warehouse with Boombuy. Subscribers to MSN 8 get access to brand-name products at prices up to 70 percent off retail.

Consumers looking to jump on even-more-outrageous post-season deals can check out the Bargain Center at MSN Shopping to find the best deals on the Web. The Bargain Center provides a clearinghouse for shoppers to take advantage of post-holiday clearance racks and sale items, free shipping offers, or great discounts on additional items with a purchase. More information is available at .

About MSN

MSN has 9 million subscriptions and attracts more than 300 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 34 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at . MSN worldwide sites are located at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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.

* comScore BPI Buyers Purchase Index 26 percent or 126 index

** Neilsen//NetRatings report, November 2002.

Microsoft, MSN and Xbox 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.

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