Cyber Black Monday Traffic – Non Issue?

Yesterday was “Cyber Monday”, so named for the kickoff of the online sales binge that so many Americans go through. The thinking is that Friday is for brick and mortar sales, and Monday is when folks get to work and use their high speed links to browse, shop, and spend. A few folks measure this specifically. Check the dynamic report Net Usage Index for Retail from Akamai is a very neat visualization of backbone traffic to e-commerce sites.

Looking at HTTP flows from a US provider to the outside world, we can see that there isn’t a big spike Monday relative to the previous Wednesday. We can clearly see the US holiday Thanksgiving (Thursday) and the associated day off work Friday in the traffic depressions. By the time Monday peaks we’re back at pre-holiday levels.

1wk_http_cyber_black_monday.png

Year on year, however, is another story, but I don’t think it’s all attributable to the growth of Cyber Monday, it looks just like traffic growth. Bloggers and news reports, such asCyber Monday Internet Traffic Spikes 30 Percent from MarketWatch, are citing data from Integra Telecom about a 30% Y-on-Y growth. Cyber Monday traffic better than last year by ZDNet blogger Sam Diaz also discusses these numbers. If we look at backbone HTTP traffic over a 52 week period we can see growth even before Cyber Monday. This analysis is just raw web traffic, not analyzing specific sites or types of sites.

1yr_http_cyber_black_monday.png

The net is indeed growing, but to come to conclusions it’s important to keep context in mind. If you just measure one day a year, you’ll infer growth due to one phenomenon. I trust Akamai’s data as it’s targeted at e-commerce sites. So there is growth, but not all of it is specific to Cyber Monday.

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