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The 2014 Shopping Season is Here: What's to Come?

And so it has begun.

Thanksgiving and the busiest days of the holiday shopping season are upon us - and that means massive online traffic growth. Last year at this time, Akamai's Lorenz Jakober reviewed ecommerce and holiday spending predictions, and hypothesized that our Akamai Retail Net Usage Index (NUI) could top 10 million page views per minute during the 2013 Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, and he was right.
In fact, online traffic peaked at 11.2 million page views per minute at 9 p.m. ET last Cyber Monday as shoppers flocked to the web to find the day's last-minute sales. Black Friday 2013 saw the most consistent flow of online activity, with an average of 6.7 million page views per minute throughout the day.

Of course, mobile commerce was also quite impressive last year, with an average of 35 percent of all retail traffic coming from mobile devices in the days following Thanksgiving 2013. Last year's mobile usage peaked at 46 percent at 6 a.m. ET on Black Friday, as many eager deal hunters rolled out of bed and searched for the best sales before hitting the stores.

So what does all of this mean for this year's holiday shopping season?

Well, much like last year, we saw an early start to the shopping season, as evidenced by an uptick in activity starting as early as Nov. 2. Our average page views per minute for mid-October were just over 2.7 million. Since Nov. 2, average daily page views per minute have grown from about 2.8 million to, most recently, 4 million. We've even seen daily peak traffic closing in at 6 million page views per minute in recent days.

This early shopping activity can be attributed to a couple of things, including continued growth in Internet usage and, more likely, the fact that retailers like Walmart and Amazon.com are starting their sales and marketing promotions earlier this year. With organizations like comScore predicting that eCommerce sales will increase by 16 percent this holiday season and mobile commerce will represent one-eighth of that spending (up 25 percent), there's plenty of reason to expect that page views will rise with that tide. Keep an eye on this blog and our @Akamai Twitter handle and follow the industry's #HolidayReadiness hashtag for more insights and real-time holiday traffic updates.