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Live on the Front Lines of the Holiday Shopping Season (Part 1)

For dozens of us at Akamai, and hundreds of our retail customers, we formally begin the biggest online shopping season of the year on Thanksgiving Day.  We have team members around the world who have been working closely with our retail customers for much of the year to ensure a rich and engaging, always available, and consistently performing site this season.  It's an exciting time as we see the fruits of collective efforts and our technology delivered at its best, resulting in a successful holiday season for our customers.
In addition to being in the midst of our customers' holiday preparations, we also gain unique perspective on the season from the pure volume of traffic that runs over our platform.  Akamai estimates that we see 30% of global Internet traffic, and -- when it comes to the business critical activity of dollars, euro and yen virtually changing hands -- approximately 40% of those transactions are securely delivered by our servers.  That global commerce activity gives us visibility into $550 million dollars in transactions per week and 99% of the shoppers on the Internet.  We see the trends of the retail holiday season in real time.

On Akamai.com we offer a series of dashboards that give real-time visibility into the remarkable volume of commerce traffic on our platform.  We'll be watching these indices closely, and sharing with you the trends as we see them throughout the coming weeks. 

•    The Retail Usage Index is a real-time view into the traffic trends of our retail customers.  It is based on the aggregate, real-time page views per minute for a representative set of more than 270 global retail/e-commerce sites.  We'll be tracking the index this year to identify the peak traffic days of the season, and to look at traffic growth trends over previous years.  
•    The Mobile Usage Index is a benchmark for many of the world's leading mobile websites that tracks where and when mobile Web content is being consumed on a global basis.  We expect tablets and smartphones to play a larger role in the hands of shoppers this season, and this benchmark will give us real-time visibility into the realization of that trend.
•    The Online Shopping Dashboard is a view of daily activity within our online shopping data co-op showing trends in unique shoppers, number of transactions and total sales in dollars. To protect the anonymity of our co-op members, the dashboard is presented as an 'index' which compares the selected time period against an "average" day from the previous year.  We'll be tracking this dashboard to look at shopper behavior, the correlation between high traffic and sales, and more specifically, when browsers are turning to buyers.

I will be posting more updates over the coming weeks on the trends of the season from the eyes of the Akamai platform and its Commerce team on the front lines.  In the meantime, what are your projections for this holiday season? 

Lelah Manz is Chief Strategist, Commerce for Akamai 

1 Comment

Thank you for putting this together.

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