Apple's iPod gained market share over Christmas, while online traffic to iTunes spiked, new research shows.

As previously reported, many users experienced slow performance and other problems when accessing iTunes on Christmas Day.There's a good reason, Hitwise reported that traffic to the iTunes site climbed an astonishing 1,222 per cent on Christmas Day, (compared to the preceeding Monday).

These massive traffic spikes betray better-than-anticipated iPod sales, according to the researchers at NPD Group who claim iPod market share actually increased, year on year.

News this morning claims that beteen 19 November and 23 December, iPods accounted for 57.3 per cent of all players sold at a panel of electronics stores in the US. This panel did not include any Apple retail or online stores. Apple took 42 per cent of these sales one year ago.

Other digital music player makes sold as follows: SanDisk, 19.2 per cent (down from 22.1 per cent); Creative Technology, 3.4 per cent; Microsoft Zune, 2.8 per cent.