Electricals retailer Apple has moved above grocery giant Tesco into fourth position in the IMRG Experian Hot Shops survey, which lists the most popular UK retail websites.
The forward movement shown by the US-based company, which manufactures the increasingly popular iPad and iPhone products, was representative of the UK electricals sector as a whole with Currys and Comet also rising up the list of the top 50 online businesses.
Figures shown in the quarterly research are based on online activity in January 2011 and are in comparison to November 2010.
Amazon.co.uk, Argos and Play.com were the top three most popular websites, while Amazon.com, Next, John Lewis, Your M&S and easyJet completed the top ten.
The performance of the budget airline was indicative of consumer interest in travel firms, as Thomas Cook, First Choice, Thomson, Travel Republic and British Airways all made significant strides up the table during the quarter.
Robin Goad, Director of Research at Experian Hitwise, commented: “As we expected travel brands have had an excellent quarter and are benefiting from increased consumer searches for Easter breaks and summer holidays.
“The January VAT increase has also spurred consumers to buy expensive electronics goods in December, though there is likely to be a backlash next quarter as a result of the new 20 per cent VAT rate.
“What we saw over Christmas was that fashion retailers are increasingly relying on social media to deliver traffic to their websites and the announcement of an Asos.com store on Facebook this January is an exciting development for online retail.
“Taking this into account, the fashion brands should recover quickly from this quarter’s dip in performance.”
Sainsbury’s, Ikea and House of Fraser were ranked as the most improved brands when compared with January 2010, highlighting the respective success achieved by these retailers over the last year.
Verdict Research recently revealed a study showing that Ikea has become Britain’s biggest home furnishings retailer, whilst Sainsbury’s is rapidly catching Asda as the number two grocery firm in the UK.
House of Fraser, meanwhile, recently announced that Christmas 2010 was its best ever festive season and houseoffraser.co.uk was the group’s best performing store during the five weeks to January 5th.