Another year, and another incredibly successful Cyber 5 (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) shopping period for everyone. Adobe is reporting that well over 17 billion dollars were spent on e-commerce transactions between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday representing somewhere between 20-30% year over year growth in sales volume for each day.  Mobile e-commerce shopping also saw huge growth, representing over 50% of the site visits and more than 30% of the revenue. Although many records were broken for total sales volume, total visits, and total mobile spend, not everything went as planned for all retailers. Major sites like Lowes, LuLulemon and J. Crew had outages and IBM Digital Analytics, a major third-party Analytics provider, suffered an outage as well, causing many sites to load much slower than normal. It is a continual reminder that even the biggest brands can still fall down during these crucial shopping periods.

From what we saw here at Instart, our customers saw a massive increase in web traffic during each of the five days. On average for the five shopping days, we saw over two times the normal peak traffic volumes, and certain retailers had close to 10 times their normal traffic.

Some interesting Total Traffic data from our customers -


Large Fashion brand:

The traffic peak was on Thanksgiving day, with another smaller spike on Cyber Monday. Slow ramp up in traffic leading up to the Holiday. This pattern is fairly typical for most of our larger e-commerce brands Large spikes on Friday and Monday, with a trough on Saturday and Sunday


Large online and brick and mortar retailer:

Large peak on Cyber Monday itself, and a clear indication of the Cyber Monday ‘midnight spike’ and the ‘commute dip’ in the late afternoon.


Large Women's fashion brand:

Peak on Thanksgiving, but very large peaks on the weekend before and after. Important to be ready ahead of time! Over four times the normal traffic amount for almost 2 weeks.


Subscription box brand:

A great example of a flash sale traffic spike - Early morning Monday tweet about a 50% off deal drove a huge rush of traffic, with a sharp drop off quickly thereafter.


As you can see from the above examples, retailers should be expecting two to ten times their normal traffic levels during these peak seasons. Traffic can slowly ramp to peak levels, be continuous over a few weeks, or a have a sudden spike over the course of a few minutes. What we have seen work well again this year is to commit your entire organization to be prepared for a peak season. For most of our customers, this starts months before Thanksgiving, with coordination about marketing campaigns, vendor audits, code change lockout periods and general heightened awareness around delivering a fantastic digital experience for shoppers over those 5 crucial days. Check out how Instart can help you conquer your peak seasons.