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Apple becomes UK's #2 online retail store

Apple.com has become the second most trafficked online retail site in the UK, according to a report by website tracking firm Experian Hitwise and IMRG. The #2 spot puts Apple.com only behind Internet retail juggernaut Amazon.co.uk and ahead of retail discounter Argos.co.uk.

Experian Hitwise tracking numbers are for website traffic recorded between August and October.The #2 spot represents a six-spot move for Apple.com. In July, Apple.com ranked as the #8 most trafficked online retail site in the UK. Experian Hitwise said Apple moved up to the #2 spot thanks to its five-fold increase in hits.

The web tracking firm does point out that Apple's rapid rise to the #2 spot could be an anomaly spurred by Steve Jobs death and the resulting surge of interest in Apple. In October, the month Steve Jobs passed away, Apple.com/uk received 14 million hits -- one for every 250 visits made by UK-based browsers.

However, Experian Hitwise Marketing Research Analyst James Murray acknowledges that the iPhone 4S announcement was also responsible for Apple's massive traffic numbers. "The tech world mourned the death of Steve Jobs this quarter but Apple goes on, and the launch of the iPhone 4S has helped push Apple to its highest ever ranking in the Hot Shops list," he said in a press release. "Amazon UK and Apple are now the two biggest brands in online retail, and this Christmas they will go head-to-head in the gadget wars as the Amazon Kindle contends with the Apple iPad. Our data shows that iPad is the more popular gadget online but the Kindle's lower price point may entice shoppers this Christmas."

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