EBay reports strong online shopping start 

Ebay Inc. (EBAY) companies including Shopping.com and PayPal reported an increase in online traffic on Friday, Nov. 23.

"Early signs from a very busy Black Friday show that many shoppers are grabbing their mouse instead of their car keys this holiday season," said Jim Griffith, dean of education at the San Jose-based Ebay Inc.

Shopping.com reported a 61 percent increase in traffic over last year’s "Black Friday," Nov. 24, 2006. In general, shoppers tend to browse and research more on Friday than on the Monday after, which last year had 19 percent greater activity than Black Friday, Ebay reported.

From 2003 to 2006, PayPal reported a 70 percent increase in total payment volume on Thanksgiving Day, indicating increased shopping activity on that day.

In practice, Mondays are the busiest days of the week for online shopping and the second Monday in December tends to be the busiest online shopping day of the season, Ebay officials said. Online shopping activity on PayPal was 96 percent higher on the second Monday in December in 2006 than on Thanksgiving Day.

Shopping.com reported that the categories Gifts and Flowers and Clothing and Accessories saw the greatest growth this year, increasing by 57 and 52 percent respectively.

The hottest gifts included Webkinz Pet Toys, the George Foreman Next Grilleration Grill, the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Zune 80.

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