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.
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.
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
Margaret Kuchler is Director Industry Marketing at Akamai.