Apple Computer's iPod digital media player was the "must-have" Christmas gift for the third consecutive holiday season, driving a huge increase in traffic to the company's iTunes Web site and music store, a Web metrics firm said.
New iPod owners flocked to Apple's site Christmas Day to download the iTunes client to their PCs or Macs, increasing traffic by 413% over the same day last year, Hitwise said Wednesday. Visits to the Apple Store, which sells iPod accessories and other products, rose 110% compared with Christmas Day 2005.
Visits to Microsoft's Zune.net, the site for downloading music for the company's new Zune player, showed an increase of 1,030% Christmas Day, compared with the previous Monday, Dec. 18, Hitwise said. Microsoft released Zune in mid-November for the holiday season.
Nevertheless, that strong showing was overshadowed by the iPod. Visits to the iTunes Web site rose 1,222% during the same period and outnumbered visits to Zune.net by 30-to-1.
"For the third holiday season in a row, the iPod has been the must-have Christmas gift," Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, said in a statement. "Competitive offerings have not yet succeeded in capturing the attention of music listeners, and the surge in visits to the Apple Store shows that iPod owners are also engaged in filling and accessorizing their new devices."