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Will retail traffic spike at 10M views per minute this Cyber Monday?

Well, it's here. We're in the thick of the holiday ecommerce season. Mobile traffic to our retailers' sites is growing steadily and we're already seeing more overall traffic than last year.

Though we're still a few days away from the busiest shopping events of the year, visits to retailers' sites would suggest that we're on track with eMarketer's predictions that ecommerce sales will rise 15 percent this year and that mobile sales will account for 16 percent of those sales. Of course, visiting a site and making a purchase are two very different activities, but the interest is there - now it's up to the retailers to turn those browsers into buyers.

Let's take a look at some of our supporting data from this year and last.

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The above figure represents traffic growth from our real-time Retail Net Usage Index (NUI) for a few days earlier this month. The last day shown here is Nov. 20 (last Wednesday). This upward momentum is typical of pre-Thanksgiving traffic, but what is interesting is that last Wednesday saw a 25% increase in peak traffic over the highest spike on the same day last year (which was just three days before Black Friday), with nearly 5.3 million page views per minute. If this kind of growth continues, we could see more than 10 million page views per minute on Cyber Monday this year! (Check out our earlier post for a snapshot of what Cyber Monday looked like in 2012).

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If you're interested in how much of last year's traffic came from mobile devices, take a look at the 2012 breakdown (above) of Black Friday traffic from devices such as iPads, iPhones, Androids, Kindles and Nooks, and Galaxy Tabs. This data is inclusive of all mobile retailer site visits on this popular shopping day, so remember that in addition to browsing products on-the-go and on the couch, many were also visiting ecommerce sites in the stores to read reviews, check product availability and shipping options, and research prices. Since 2010, we've seen year-over-year mobile usage grow by 8 to 10%, and we expect to see a similar climb again this holiday season.

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As we consider how mobile traffic will grow this holiday shopping season, it's interesting to look at how it was trending in the early half of this quarter. The above charts illustrate the mobile activity from more than 30 of our top retailers' sites from Oct. 1 to Nov. 13 this year. Though the previous bar graph shows that 24% of Black Friday traffic came from smartphone and tablet use, this pie chart of recent data shows an average mobile use of nearly 32%.

Another interesting note from this more recent mobile data is the fact that more than 13% of the visits came from iPads, 11% came from iPhones, and 8% came from Android devices. Note that "non-cellular" means the devices were likely WiFi-enabled as opposed to using a "cellular" connection like 3G, 4G or LTE. The latest mobile device tracking suggests that device preferences remain about the same, with slight growth in each category, leading to greater overall mobile adoption and use. It will surely be interesting to see how this trend continues in the coming days!

Be sure to subscribe to this blog feed to see how the ecommerce season pans out, and follow #AkamaiHoliday and @Akamai on Twitter to learn about more data and trends as the holidays unfold.

Lorenz Jakober is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Akamai.