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Market's Pulse Beats Mobile

Some people still speak about mobile technology in our lives in the future tense. If you are one of those few people remaining, then I think it is time to realize mobile is now.

The smartphone market is a two-horse race between two of the biggest names in technology - Apple (iOS) and Google (Android). One way to track their relative operating system market penetration is via mobile browser usage.

Despite Android's tremendous operating system market share (81.5 percent in 2014, according to IDC), Apple cemented its leadership in mobile browser usage in the third quarter of 2014. To measure browser usage, Akamai tracked the number of cellular specific and total network connections from Apple's default iOS web browser, mobile Safari, and Android's stock Webkit browser.

Nearly two years ago, we published the blog post "Clarifying State of the Internet Report Metrics," which served as a great reference for those interested in finding out more about the metrics published within the State of the Internet Report. Since the report has evolved, we're releasing an update to clarify existing metrics and review new ones, with the goal of minimizing confusion about terms and data in the report.


Update on IPv6 Adoption

In the third quarter of 2013, the State of the Internet Report started to include insight into IPv6 adoption based on data gathered from across the Akamai Intelligent Platform™. Throughout the last year, we've seen impressive growth rates across the top countries and network providers on both a quarterly and yearly basis as native IPv6 connectivity is made available to more end users.

Mobile Networks - Performance Testing

There has been a huge surge in the demand to access a variety of popular applications via mobile devices. The demand for access to business information and websites through mobile technologies has caused the business managers to drive mobility as part of their business technology. It is becoming imperative for companies to have their content effectively available on the mobile devices.

Although our goal was to publish it in mid-December, unexpectedly busy schedules and holiday time off derailed those plans. Fear not, though, as the Q3 2014 State of the Internet Report will be published just after the start of the New Year. As a belated holiday present for our readers, we will also be launching an updated connectivity visualization on the State of the Internet website, a new State of the Internet subspace on the Akamai Community, and an updated mobile application for iOS devices.

Preparing for the Holidays: Mobile Trends

While the holiday season may seem far off to consumers, retailers know all too well that it has already begun. But just as the hot toy changes from year to year, so do the issues that retailers face. It's never too early to prepare for the holiday rush, so over the next few weeks we'll be sharing what you should know when it comes to mobile and security trends and how you can prepare accordingly. So first up: mobile trends.

How would you rate your last "Mobile Moment"?

One of the best parts of my job is speaking with our customers about their business challenges, and my favorite topic is the mobile user experience. Recently I spoke with the CEO of one of our financial services customers about their challenge to understand and deliver the right mobile experience to both the phone and the tablet.

Like many discussion around mobile experience, your top-of-mind thoughts and ideas come not from scientific market research or customer polls, but directly from your own personal experience - in this case, the CEO's most recent "mobile moment".

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.





The holiday season is upon us once again! Stores are filling with holiday gifts and gadgets and our emails will soon be inundated with holiday shopping deals and ads. With 96 of the top 100 online retailers (according to Internet Retailer) as customers, our Akamai Commerce team has been working around the clock, alongside our retail customers and partners, to deliver, optimize and secure consumers' online shopping experiences this season. Before the season is in full swing, however, we'd like to take a look back at some of last year's holiday shopping traffic trends to paint a picture of what the 2013 online holiday shopping season may look like.

Let's start at the beginning. In 2012, traffic to retailers' websites averaged between two to three million views per minute, give or take a few spikes here and there. As the Thanksgiving holiday nears, the traffic begins to climb to four or five million views per minute. You can see this movement for yourself if you visit our Net Usage Index and select the "Retail" industry. This publicly available index shows web traffic spikes by geography and industry in real-time, and going back about a year and a half.

On Thanksgiving last year we saw online shopping peak at around 9 p.m. ET with nearly 7.6 million page views per minute, suggesting many consumers didn't wait for Black Friday to begin their holiday shopping. As can be expected, Black Friday drove 25% more average traffic than Thanksgiving, with a similar peak of more than 7.5 million page views per minute at 11 a.m. ET. Black Friday tends to drive much higher peaks earlier in the day because of research activity for offline shopping in the morning hours.

As far as where consumers did their shopping, according to a survey from NRF, approximately 48% of respondents did their Black Friday holiday shopping online, and according to data from IBM, 24% of visits on Black Friday came from mobile devices. Additionally, IBM found that nearly 60% of consumers used smartphones and 41% used tablets to look for deals on Black Friday. In 2013, we expect to see more of this on Black Friday, as consumers use coupon and savings sites to do research and search for gifts from the comfort of their own home, as they recover from Thanksgiving dinner. Are your sites ready to deliver great experiences across screens and browsers?

We also saw in 2012 that consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices simultaneously to get the best Black Friday deals. There will be more of this in 2013 as shoppers continue to use the resources they have at their disposal to become smarter and savvier shoppers. Mobile activity peaked between 9 and 10 p.m. ET on Black Friday, with many consumers likely checking for deals on their phones before bed.

 

Last year, the Black Friday momentum continued through the following Saturday, maintaining a peak of 7. 6 million views per minute at 2:05 a.m. ET, meaning that East Coast shoppers browsed well into the morning and West Coast folks stayed up late. They took a break on the Sunday before Cyber Monday, though, with peak views dropping to 6 million per minute at noon ET.


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Cyber Monday in 2012 was incredibly popular, with page views spiking at 8.5 million at 9 p.m. ET, further proving the night owls' approval of the convenience of "window" shopping and purchasing from the internet. We can expect similar behavior in 2013. Whereas other traditionally big holiday shopping days - like Free Shipping Day in mid-December and the December 28 post-holiday sale - will likely be slightly less popular. Last year the peak page views on these days were 4.1 million and 3.6 million, respectively.

 

Last year, online Thanksgiving Day sales increased by 17% over 2011, online Black Friday sales increased by 21% and online Cyber Monday sales increased by 30 percent, according to an annual holiday consumer retail spending report from Baynote. We'll likely see an increase in overall online holiday shopping sales in 2013, similar to what we saw in 2012.

 

We hope you'll find it insightful to compare your site's traffic to the aggregate of thousands of retail sites in the US and Europe. Here are the stats you can expect to find on our blog this season:

  • Overall, online traffic patterns, including peak traffic times and days, through our Retail Net Usage Index
  • The types of mobile devices and browsers consumers are using this year
  • Any other unique and interesting traffic patterns we find

Any other data you'd like us to cover? What are your predictions for the 2013 holiday shopping season? Let us know by commenting below.  

Share your own stories and data comparisons on this blog. Subscribe to this blog feed, or follow #AkamaiHoliday and @Akamai on Twitter to stay in touch and learn about interesting trends we see as the holiday season unfolds.


Margaret Kuchler is Director Industry Marketing at Akamai.

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