Online competitive intelligence service Hitwise reports that visits to Apple's iTunes website jumped 413 percent on Christmas Day 2006, compared to Christmas Day 2005.
The company also registered the Apple online store as the fourth most-visited website on the Hitwise Retail Index for Christmas Day, 2006.
Hitwise attributes the huge jump in traffic to new iPod owners who wanted to download the latest version of iTunes. Hitwise general manager of global research Bill Tancer called the iPod "the must-have Christmas gift" for the third holiday season in a row.
Despite Microsoft's Zune catching a lot of media attention in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Tancer said that "competitive offerings have not yet succeeded in capturing the attention of music listeners”.
Hitwise reports that visits to Microsoft's Zune.net website increased 1,030 percent on Christmas Day compared to the previous Monday (Dec. 18), but even that was overshadowed by the iPod - marketshare of visits to the iTunes site increased 1,222 week to week, outnumbering Zune.net visits by 30 to 1.
Hitwise's methodology is based on "relationships with ISPs" based around the world, capturing anonymous online usage, search and conversion behaviour from 25 million internet users, according to the company.