While this season was the biggest online sale ever in terms of money spent by consumers online, there were still a few websites that buckled under the strain of too many shoppers.
Adobe has provided the industry with some great insight into online shopping data and trends in 2016. According to Adobe Digital Insights, Black Friday online sales reached 3.34 billion dollars while Cyber Monday online sales peaked at $3.39 billion, more than a 10% increase over the previous year. From Adobe’s press release: “Adobe measures 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers.” With this data and the collection of over 23 billion website visits recorded by Adobe, they put together highly accurate estimates for the total amount spent during the holiday weekend sales.
Black Friday Versus Cyber Monday on Mobile Devices
Even with an increase of online sales occurring on Black Friday, people still waited in record numbers for the Cyber-Monday sales. For the first time ever, over 1 billion dollars was spent during the Black Friday rush by mobile device users, and Cyber Monday followed closely behind with 1.19 billion spent by mobile users. In fact, over 53% of traffic to e-commerce websites was from smartphones.
So Who Were the Biggest Losers?
While Macy’s was listed as the 3rd most talked about website in social media, their website may not have been ready to handle all the traffic. Both Macy’s and Express websites experienced intermittent outages throughout the afternoon on Black Friday. Macy’s doorbusters included up to 75% off on select clothing items and over 50% off items like a Dyson Vacuum cleaner. These sales lead many users to receive error messages when trying to access the website. Macy’s website displayed the following message to some users throughout the afternoon:
“Sorry, shoppers! We’re currently experiencing heavier traffic than normal. To make sure everyone gets the best shopping experience possible, we’re asking new shoppers to wait approximately 10 seconds, and then we’ll refresh your browser and welcome you in.”
On Cyber Monday, another clothing store apparently received more traffic than they anticipated. The Old Navy website experienced problems under the heavy load of deal-crazy customers looking to capitalize on the 50% off everything sale for Cyber Monday. Funny enough, Old Navy challenged their customers to “Break the internets” and it looks like they got their wish.
Biggest Social Media Winners
Surprisingly, Ebay was the big winner this Cyber-Monday when it came to social media- beating out second place Amazon and other online retailers with the highest number of social media mentions. While those e-tail giants were able to sustain the record numbers of online consumers, 3rd place Macy’s was the most mentioned site to fail over the holiday weekend.
What Have We Learned From the 2016 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales?
Companies of all sizes need to be prepared to handle record numbers of online traffic. Mobile versions of websites should be optimized and web servers should be load tested to push them beyond current capacity expectations. e-commerce managers need to stress test their websites ahead of the holiday rushes to verify they can handle record numbers of site visitors because online shopping- particularly from mobile devices, is only going to increase next year. Check out Dotcom-Monitor’s new Cloud based load testing platform for free.
If you are not utilizing CDNs (Content Distribution Networks) and you haven’t tested the scalability of your web farm, you are behind the times! All e-commerce websites should also be constantly monitoring their website using real browsers to see what end users are actually seeing from different locations within their customer base. Sign up for a free trial of BrowserView to see how your website performs in over 40 different browsers from over 25 locations around the world.