comScore MM data indicated that US users were up 4% y/y in Sept., unchanged from in August. Google remained the most visited web property with 144mn unique users, up 11% y/y, and gained user share relative to Yahoo! (up 5%) and Microsoft (up 3%). In eCommerce Amazon's user growth slowed to a market rate of 4% while eBay declined 11% ... We continue to see AMZN (low prices), GOOG (information need) and PCLN (value buyers) as well positioned brands in this macro environment.
Google had a solid month, with 144mn visitors in September, up 11% y/y. Web Search page view growth re-accelerated m/m to up 24% y/y from up 13% y/y in Aug. Google continues to take user share in several verticals including Finance, Mail, and Maps, while YouTube users were up a solid 59%. We remain positive on Google as a share gainer in a high-growth media category, but note that the stock faces 4Q and 2009 estimate risk given abnormal economic conditions. We like Google risk/reward with the stock in the mid-$300s.
Online Retail user traffic growth was stable m/m in September at up 3% y/y. Amazon's users were up 4% y/y, down from +7% in Aug. but slightly better than industry, and eBay's users were down 11% y/y. comScore's data shows some pockets of slowdown (multi-channel retailers), but not a broad slowdown and the data supports our view that pure-play eCommerce companies should remain more resilient to an economic downturn than traditional retailersIn light of the economy in general, ecommerce and Internet traffic are holding up rather well. I certainly wouldn't predict a boffo 4th quarter but it may not be as bad as many thing. Low expectations may be helpful.