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Wednesday, December 02, 2009, 05:20 am PT (08:20 am ET)

Apple's Cyber Monday Internet shopping traffic increases 71%

Though it didn't crack the top 20 overall retail Web sites, Apple's online store saw a massive 71 percent spike in Internet traffic for Cyber Monday, placing it well above the competition.

According to new data from Experian Hitwise, overall Cyber Monday Web traffic was down 9 percent among the top 500 retail sites in the U.S. But Apple bucked the trend, with a nearly three-quarter increase since 2008.

Apple's increase is especially noteworthy because the largest increase among the top 20 Web sites tracked by Hitwise was Staples, which spiked 61 percent in Web traffic compared to 2008. It was followed by Barnes & Noble, which grew 46 percent in 2009.

The top Cyber Monday Web site, as it has been since 2006, was Amazon. The online retailer continued to grow, adding another 44 percent in visits over 2008. More than 15 percent of all online traffic of the top 500 retail sites went to Amazon.

Coming in second was Walmart with 9.54 percent of all top 500 traffic, followed by Target (5.16 percent), Best Buy (3.56 percent), and JC Penney (2.58 percent). Sites that decreased in traffic since 2008 were Home Depot, down 29 percent, and Overstock.com, which dropped 25 percent.

Cyber Monday is a marketing term coined by the retail industry in 2005 designed to grow online sales. It has been called the single largest day for the purchase of electronics online.

Hitwise also found that social Web sites like Facebook and Twitter drove traffic to top retailers Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us. The number of users relying on Facebook to find online deals grew 36 percent, while Twitter traffic increased 15 percent.

Apple offered modest discounts on various accessories for its Cyber Monday sale. Major products like MacBooks and iPods were not discounted.

Though Apple did not crack the top 20 for Cyber Monday, Black Friday was particularly strong, as the Mac maker was one of only five retail Web sites that surpassed 4 million unique visitors. Last Friday, Apple saw 39 percent year-over-year growth in Web site traffic.