The Apple Store is bucking the US recession by continuing to perform well, key online-shopping research shows.

Nielsen/NetRatings Holiday eCommerce Index shows that Apple's traffic grew by 71 per cent, year on year, attracting 17,642,000 visitors in November and December 2001. The results place Apple fifth in the table of top US ecommerce performers

The survey rates e-tailers by the number of shopping trips made to e-commerce Web sites. It doesn't record consumer spending.

Traffic PC manufacturers enjoyed an increasingly profitable Web presence, attracting more online shoppers than ever. HP attracted 26,067,000 visitors, 53 per cent more than last year.

Amazon's traffic grew 49 per cent, attracting 198,822,000 visitors, against 133,197,000 in the same period last year.

However, in related news, research from Jupiter Media Metrix shows that just 30 per cent of online retailers responded to customer-service requests within six hours in the December 2001 quarter.

Jupiter's analysts found that poor online customer service cascades across channels. According to a November 2001 survey, 53 per cent of consumers are less likely to repeat-purchase from a retailer's offline store if they had an unsatisfying experience online. Just three per cent said a company's online service would have no impact on future purchases.