Black Friday/Cyber Monday week is not only a huge challenge for retailers, but also for DevOps Engineers (like myself and my teammates) to ensure that servers and services are running smoothly during the sales frenzy…

 

Because let’s face it: building and managing a scalable and stable online service is not for the faint of heart. And to keep that service from shutting down during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year…well, that deserves its own blog post. But before the dust settles – and while you’re still shipping out those final orders – here are some some key stats and takeaways from this year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales weekend.*

*Stats are based on over 20,000+ Nosto accounts across the globe regardless of whether they launched a Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign.

 

Performance by Device

  • 52% of the traffic derived from mobile, while 36% came from desktop. Tablet-device share stood at only 9%.
    • The remaining 3% deriving from other/unknown devices).
  • If you combine tablet and mobile, a whopping 61% of shoppers used their handheld devices to shop.
  • iOS traffic share (including mobile and tablet) stood at 38%, whereas 21% derived from Android devices.
  • On desktop, 26% of traffic came from Windows OS.
  • 10% of shoppers used a device running on OSX.

 

And what about the traffic itself?

We took a baseline from an average weekend in October and compared the traffic stats to Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. The results? A bit surprising…

On Black Friday, we saw an overall 244% increase in traffic, which might seem a bit modest, but peak shopping hours are where it gets interesting.

The busiest shopping hour in all regions was either between 8 – 9pm or 9 to 10pm local time. At the very peak hour, we tracked 550% more orders than on an average Friday evening. In short, while traffic increased threefold, during busy hours both traffic and orders are likely to increase 5-6X on average. In some stores, traffic went off the scale – so some shops might even see a 10-20x increase in traffic.

Our top ten clients delivered over 23% of overall traffic, which is a big anomaly compared to what we see on average weekend. From my technical perspective, it seems that slightly bigger and known (or more experienced) stores get more out of this weekend, as the volume of traffic is not equally distributed.

 

Performance by Region

Unsurprisingly, US retailers experienced the biggest growth in traffic compared to regular baseline, indicating that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still very US-based sales days. In Europe, UK retailers saw sharper growth compared to surrounding countries. And fun fact: 0.12% of traffic to Nosto’s stores came from from Jamaica, while 0.10% from Trinidad & Tobago – two areas aren’t commonly on our radar. This indicates that BFCM weekend is indeed a global phenomena outside of the US and the UK.

 

Who’s the bigger player: Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

While results differ from store to store, overall traffic during Black Friday was 27% greater than on Cyber Monday – but this is only side of the coin. In terms of viewed products per visit between Friday and Monday, visits and products viewed per shop on Monday where longer than on Friday. This may indicate that, while Friday was the day to find the best deals, customers returned to their regular shopping behavior on Monday.

In short: Black Friday wins in terms of percentage, but Cyber Monday is an almost equally important day in ecommerce.

 

Some fun facts, by the numbers…

  • The most recommended product by Nosto was a pair of jeans shown 2,655,440 times over the weekend.
  • Most recommended products in top 10 range were each recommended over 1 million times.
  • It required 40GB of data to display the single-most recommended product alone. (This gives you an idea how mad things can get on the server-side).

 

2016 vs 2017 Results

Comparing this year’s Black Friday weekend to last year’s can get a bit fuzzy, simply because Nosto – and our clients – have grown quite a lot during the past 12 months. When we compare the average size of a client in terms of sales and traffic against our own growth and 2016 stats, we’ve roughly estimated that traffic peaks during Black Friday weekend were 20% bigger this year. At the same time, an increasing number of stores in the Central and Northern European regions saw sharp increases in traffic.

The verdict? While Black Friday continues to reign supreme in the US, countries eastward are starting to feel the Black Friday FOMO.

 

Jani is the Lead DevOps Engineer and founder of Nosto.