Cyber week 2016 by the numbers, and lessons learned

Posted by on January 17, 2017 5:18pm

bigstock--156529295.jpgThe data are in! Black Friday and Cyber Monday — or Cyber Friday as we referred to in a previous post — have broken online shopping records for this year. Data from National Retail federation, Adobe Cyber week report and other sources are shown below. Here are some of the most noteworthy data:

  • Online beats brick-and mortar. BlackFriday was irresistible for consumers, both online and in store. In total, 44% of people said they shopped online, compared with 40% who said they did so in stores. All in all, BlackFriday totaled a record $3.34 billion and a substantial 21.6 percent year-over-year growth rate.
  • Cyber Monday breaks all-time records. Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day ever in the US, Adobe Cyber week reports: $3.39B spent online, just surpassing Black Friday at $3.34B, and up 10% from last year. Adobe’s Cyber Monday report is based on aggregated and anonymous data from 23 billion visits to retail websites. Adobe measures 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers, more than any other technology company.
  • Mobile soar. Mobile sales revenue continues to increase. Black Friday became the first day in retail history to drive over one billion dollars in mobile revenue at $1.2 billion, a 33 percent growth YoY.
  • Mobile browsing prevails. Mobile continues to drive the majority of visits to retail websites on Cyber Monday at 53 percent (44 percent coming from smartphones, 9 percent from tablets), while accounting for 35 percent of sales (25 percent smartphones, 10 percent tablets).
  • More shopping. $39B was spent online just during the month of November, and Adobe reports online sales of $91B by the end of the holiday season. These are staggering numbers, when not too long ago it was unthinkable to consider online sales exceeding $1B in the US.
  • One clear winner at the top. Amazon dominated CyberWeek 2016 making it a clear retail winner, with BestBuy and Target distant second and third. More than 30% of all online revenue during cyber week 2016 went to Amazon.Ecommerce data cyber week.jpg
  • A peak at the peak. Holiday insights from HookLogic indicate that on Thanksgiving Day, e-commerce shoppers peaked during the 7PM-10PM window, with the peak shopping hour on mobile being 9PM. Based on aggregate data from its retailer network, which includes Walmart, Target, Best Buy and more, HookLogic also said that the 8-9PM hour on Cyber Monday became the biggest purchasing hour in online holiday shopping history.
  • It happens to the best of us. Macys’ website buckled under heavy traffic during Black Friday, an outage that lasted for several hours. In fact, Target and Kohls, both direct rivals to Macys, apparently benefited from Macy’s debacle and reported record online sales for Cyber week.

So what’s in it for me? What are the key takeaways and lessons learned for ecommerce retailers from all these data?

Cyber week revenues are critical.

On Cyber Monday, you get 93% more revenue than an average Monday. It’s clear to see the importance of the holiday weekends on the total yearly revenue. A bad performance during Cyber week may impact a large amount of revenue for the year.

Lesson learned: Take a proactive approach to boost website performance. Be prepared. Prioritize online performance during Cyber Week above all else.

Traffic peaks are real.

We know online traffic will be huge during Cyber Monday and Black Friday; however, there will also be specific peak hours on each of those day. Your site will not respond in the same way if traffic suddenly increases tenfold or even 100-fold. In order to avoid a disaster, it is critical to be prepared by testing with 2x, 3x and even 10x scenarios.

Lesson learned: start synthetic testing and what-if scenarios at least 4 months ahead to have enough time to introduce changes.

Gone in three seconds.

It’ s not only crashes that will impact your top line revenue. In the world of web performance, every second counts. A research from Aberdeen group shows how both desktop and mobile visitors are going to drop and leave your site if there are more than 3 seconds of delay. There will be more than 20% of visitors leaving your site after 3 seconds waiting. People have choices and will jump to a competitor site. Lost online visitors mean lost revenue.

Lesson learned: baseline your website with thorough performance testing so you’ll be aware if there is any degradation in performance.

Amazon is the reference for consumers.

In order to attract visitors to your site, you need to be comparable to Amazon for speed, responsiveness and overall experience. Today’s users don’t have time, have even less patience, and measure every website or app they use against top-tier vendors such as Amazon or Google.

Lesson learned: set aggressive goals for performance for 2017 to boost your online performance and making it comparable to top-tier vendors. Start now!


Paola Moretto is co-founder and CEO of Nouvola, a nextgen performance testing solution. You can also find her on Twitter at @paolamoretto3.