iTunes US saw site visits climb 413 per cent this Christmas Day in comparison to the same day last year.

New iPod users flocked to the store to download new tunes for their brand-new music players, according to figures from market researchers at Hitwise.

The research also revealed that the market share of visits to the Apple Store climbed 110 per cent on Christmas Day 2006 when compated to 2005. The Apple Store was the fourth most visited website in the Hitwise Retail Index on Christmas Day 2006.

The market share of visits to, the site for downloading the music software for Microsoft's MP3 player showed an increase of 1,030 per cent on December 25, 2006 versus the previous Monday (December 18, 2006). However, this strong initial performance was overshadowed by the iPod, as the market share of visits to the iTunes website increased by 1,222 per cent in the same period, and outnumbered visits to by 30 to 1.

"For the third holiday season in a row, the iPod has been the must-have Christmas gift," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise. "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."