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New State of Online Retail Performance Report Available

It's springtime, and the only people with the holidays on their minds are in the retail business. This holiday season was a record-breaking one, with combined revenue for Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone exceeding $11.5 billion. To build on that momentum, smart retailers will take a closer look at the key drivers for growth in 2017 to adopt retail strategies that position their companies for success in 2018.

To help you understand online shopping trends, and how you can prepare your digital properties to capitalize on them in 2018, a new edition of the State of Online Retail Performance report  is now available. This report provides digital performance insights from the 2017 holiday season that will impact peak periods to come.

The research examined 17 retailers on the Akamai mPulse platform -- more than 7 billion beacons -- over the 2017 peak holiday shopping period against a baseline, non-peak month of October 2017. Our data science team then used our industry-leading analytics engine to glean insights from the data.

Here are a few highlights from the report.

Mobile is driving growth

Mobile traffic is on the rise. On Black Friday, mobile was the device of choice for consumers, accounting for more than 50% of the traffic to the platform. Mobile also played a pivotal role in online activity Christmas week, with Christmas Eve traffic topping Black Friday at 56%. This finding indicates a preference for the shopping convenience of mobile devices when consumers were home for holidays.

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Mobile devices not only drove traffic, but they also had a significant impact on revenue as evident by the sharp increase in mobile conversion rates. Compared to 2016, mobile conversion rates increased by 71% on Black Friday and 94% on Cyber Monday, whereas conversion rates for desktop and tablet either remained flat or decreased year over year.

In addition, for the first four days in the week before Christmas, mobile conversion rates exceeded Cyber Monday. After the holiday delivery window passed, conversions were still at or above the baseline -- pointing to the importance of omnichannel strategies.

SORP2.pngEven with this tremendous growth, mobile still had the highest bounce rate of all devices, revealing an opportunity for further improvement. What is clear from the data is the imperative for an online strategy that focuses on delivering superior mobile experiences to outpace the competition.

The peak season is expanding globally

Advancements in digital technology make it easier than ever to expand business in new geographies as well as extend the peak season by incorporating international holidays into retail plans. For example, Singles' Day in China is now the biggest online shopping day in the world, generating a record $25 billion from shoppers in at least 225 countries and regions in 2017, with about 90% of transactions on mobile.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also more popular internationally. Though many retailers in our research are based in the U.S., they receive a significant amount of traffic from other countries. The data showed that, compared to the baseline, conversion rates outside of the U.S. were not only significantly higher on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but were also higher than the previous year -- up more than 30% in the U.K. and Germany. This data suggests that retailers acknowledge Black Friday and Cyber Monday as global holidays, and have made investments abroad to improve the overall customer experience to capture more revenue.

2016-2017 % change

Black Friday

Cyber Monday

UK

+42%

+35%

Germany

+31%

+34%

France

+26%

+26%

Japan

+23%

+18%

Increase in conversion rates for countries outside the U.S.

U.S.-based retailers are also creating more engaging experiences for non-U.S. shopping events. In the U.K., traffic more than doubled on the mPulse platform, compared to average traffic in the baseline month, for Boxing Day on December 26, popular in the U.K. and other Commonwealth countries. In addition, conversion rate was not only greater than the baseline, but also more than the previous year.

2017

Boxing Day

% change compared to baseline

UK

1.37%

+38%

Overall conversion rates for Boxing Day.

Are you ready for the next peak?

Understanding online performance and how experiences -- by device, location, and platform -- affect user behavior will shape the success of your digital business. Only brands that adapt quickly to global expansion and mobile adoption will survive.

As you plan for 2018, online performance improvements must consider a broader geographical reach led by mobile. With a complete digital performance management offering, Akamai delivers real user insight to identify and prioritize where to take action, integrated tools to optimize performance, and scalable testing to simulate realistic scenarios for the confidence that your applications will meet user expectations.

For more insights about online retail trends and how to position your business for continued growth, download the full report.

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