Cyber Monday 2013 hit the books earlier this week and will go on record as the single biggest online shopping day in history, having generated more than $2 billion over the course of the day. According to the Adobe Digital Index the number actually came in at $2.23 billion — representing a 16% increase year-over-year (YoY).
[caption id="attachment_15006" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Cyber Monday Sales According to the Adobe Digital Index[/caption]
While at first glance, topping $2 billion in spending over a 24 hour period may appear staggering, in reality, it was right in in line with analyst predictions. However, what truly was staggering was the dramatic jump in mobile traffic and sales. ‘Mega Monday’ — the UK’s Cyber Monday equivalent that takes place the Monday before Thanksgiving — saw mobile account for 42.4% of all traffic.
While this certainly served as a preview of what to expect on Cyber Monday in the States, comparisons are generally tempered given the UK has roughly one fifth the population of the United States. Despite the discrepancy mobile traffic still made up 31.7% of all Cyber Monday traffic on our side of the pond — a 45% increase over 2012. In the end smartphones and tablets drove a record $419 million in sales this Cyber Monday, accounting for 17.2% of total online sales for another incredible YoY increase of 55.4% — a data point e-commerce retailers need to embrace heading into 2014.
As we’ve highlighted throughout our blog, the mobile Web has become increasingly commonplace in our everyday lives — so the fact that mobile traffic and purchasing experienced such high increases on the busiest online shopping day of the year shouldn’t be too surprising. People are becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of executing tasks usually reserved for desktops on their mobile devices — and the sites and stores that take advantage of this user maturation process will undoubtedly be in the best position to benefit from it.
IBM points out that retailers sent 77% more ‘push’ notifications — the notification and pop-ups sent via apps installed on mobile devices — between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday than when compared to the daily averages over the previous two months. Clearly the push to capitalize on this rapidly evolving mobile market has begun and by next year should be in full swing.
While mobile traffic stole most of the headlines this Cyber Monday, it’s important to note that 68% of traffic still came from desktops — and optimizing the desktop experience needs to remain top of mind for online retailers — especially on Cyber Monday.
Earlier this week we published the results of our benchmark monitoring of the top 50 retail sites over the holiday weekend, which shows just how focused retailers have become on key user experience metrics like Time to First Paint and Above the Fold Time. Looking at the results of sites like William Sonoma and Saks Fifth Avenue its clear that delivering the content that the user needs to begin engaging with the site is the priority. While the full page load times for both of these sites clock in above the red flagged 4 seconds (Saks considerable higher) both make up for it in their First Paint and Above the Fold timings:
You can view the complete data set in the original blog post, however, this data clearly shows that the retailers are starting to understand the importance of delivering the user experience as quickly as possible — and how this translates into improving First Paint and Above the Fold timings. It will be interesting to see how these priorities carry over to mobile.
Given the rise in traffic and sales it experienced this year, similar types of mobile-specific optimization can’t be far behind.