Posted by : Randy Cooper in (CDN)
After a slow start to the online holiday shopping season last week, Web retailers got their groove back Monday and broke some records. The percentage of U.S. visits to the top 500 retail sites was down 11% on Thanksgiving Day vs. the same day last year, says market researcher Hitwise, and the trend continued through the weekend. U.S. traffic was down 5% on Black Friday and down 8% on Saturday.
But things improved on the first day many were back to work after Thanksgiving, now called Cyber Monday because of all the promotions on individual sites and the National Retail Federation’s CyberMonday.com. By 10 a.m. ET Monday, online visits to Web tracker Akamai Technologies’ approximately 280 retail customer sites topped last Cyber Monday’s peak of 4.6 million visitors per minute. By 3 p.m. Akamai’s global retail customers — which include Best Buy and Victoria’s Secret — were experiencing 6.7 million online visitors per minute — the most Akamai has seen since it started collecting the data in 2005.
Concerns remain that price cuts are gouging profits at a time when few can afford it, but retailers are hoping that those who come for the bargains will buy higher-priced items, too. David Fry, whose e-commerce company operates the sites for several major retail chains, says that “things are better than expected.” His clients reported traffic increases of 30% to 60% compared with last year and revenue up 10% to 20%.
Cyber Monday wasn’t without problems. Web-tracking firm Keynote Systems says Gap (which owns Old Navy and Banana Republic) had a 20-minute outage. Worse yet, the J. Crew site was down for more than four hours.