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The Holiday Conversion Index - which shopping days drive the highest conversion rates?

Many of the analysts and data providers offering insight into the trends of the online holiday shopping season focus on the peak days for revenue.  While an important metric from a retailer's perspective, it doesn't paint the full picture of how shoppers are using the Internet to drive their entire shopping experience.

The Conversion Index
Using Akamai's Net Usage Index for Retail we are able to identify some interesting behaviors around peak shopping days.  As an example, if we correlate the peak traffic days of 2010 in the United States, with ComScore's daily revenue data, we were able to develop a conversion index to give us some indication of the number of researchers or browsers relative to purchasers:


With an index of .97, less than the average index for the peak shopping days of the season, CyberMonday emerges as not just an important day for purchasing, but a day of online research, as shoppers are still considering their options, and hunting for the best deals.  Conversely, it's no surprise that desperation sets in on the last free shipping day of the holiday season, with a conversion index of 1.35.  Browsers much more quickly convert to buyers as Christmas approaches, and the deals slow.

More Shoppers Research on Sunday, Buy on Monday

Some other interesting trends that you'll find in our Net Usage Index for Retail:

•    Traffic is already WAY up!  Monday's peak of 1,006,623 page views per minute is already 30% higher than last year on the Monday before Thanksgiving.   Traffic as of this writing (at 6:40 PM ET on Tuesday) continues to trend 30% higher than the same time period last year.

•    Shoppers Research on Sundays, Retailers extend Deals on Monday - with the exception of CyberMonday, Sunday evenings drive more traffic than any other day during the week, with retailers offering most of their new deals and sales on Mondays.  Shoppers are aware of these sales cycles, and come online on Sunday evenings to research the deals available on Monday.

•    We shop online in the evenings - with few exceptions, the peak traffic levels hit at 9:00 PM every evening during the week, when both the East Coast and West Coast shoppers are online.

Will this 30% traffic growth continue?  Would you like to hear our insight into other traffic trends this holiday season not mentioned in this post?  Continue to follow this blog series through the holiday as we report on the traffic trends as and when we see it!

Lelah Manz is Chief Strategist, Commerce for Akamai