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Cyberweek: Facts & Strategies You Need to Know

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Over the years, we’ve gathered statistics, tips and optimization strategies to help you understand and prepare for this important time of the year. Below is an extensive summary of everything we’ve gathered over the last several years.

Historical Statistics

2013

  • Cyber Monday Total Online Revenue $1.74 billion
  • 17% of revenue on Cyber Monday attributed to mobile sales
  • 31% of total traffic on mobile devices

2014

  • Cyber Monday Total Online Revenue $2.6 billion
  • 22% of revenue on Cyber Monday attribute to mobile sales
  • 41% of total traffic on mobile devices

2015

  • Cyber Monday Total Online Revenue $3.07 billion
  • 26% of revenue on Cyber Monday attribute to mobile sales
  • 49% of total traffic on mobile devices

2016

  • Cyber Monday Total Online Revenue $3.45 billion
  • 31% of revenue on Cyber Monday attribute to mobile sales
  • 54% of total traffic on mobile devices

2017

  • Cyber Monday Total Online Revenue $6.59 billion
  • 30% of revenue on Cyber Monday attribute to mobile sales
  • 47% of total traffic on mobile devices

2018

  • Cyber Monday Total Online Revenue $7.9 billion
  • 28% of revenue on Cyber Monday attribute to mobile sales
  • 50% of total traffic on mobile devices

In order to take full advantage of cyberweek this year, it’s important to understand shopper intentions and motivations. Here are a few key insights into those important aspects of this shopping period.

Mobile is important, desktop is still king

Mobile sales rose steadily from 2013 through 2016, but seem to have leveled off at around 30% of total revenue on Cyber Monday. Traffic from mobile devices also rose sharply between 2013 and 2015, but leveled off at around 50%. Perhaps we have a reached a peak for the convenience added by a mobile device when compared to the flexibility of a desktop browser. For example, comparison shopping is far easier to do on a large screen.

statistics from 2014 orders per device on black friday weekend
Data from 2014

Why we shop online

Shoppers say they are choosing online over in-store shopping due to the following benefits:

  • Free shipping (69% of surveyed shoppers)
  • Better prices than in-store (51% of surveyed shoppers)
  • Ability to avoid crowds/long checkout lines (50% of surveyed shoppers)

Site search dominates

On SearchSpring sites, conversion rates from shoppers who use site search are an average of 300% higher than other visitors. Shoppers are looking for a quick in-and-out experience, especially on these days.

Optimization & Preparation Tips & Strategies

Optimize for speed
The first step you should take is to test your load times on mobile. According to a 2014 Internet Retailer study, responsive designs are painfully slow, with the average load time of around 18 seconds. A 1-second delay in web site page load time translates into a 7% loss in conversions, according to research firm Aberdeen Group Inc. So if an e-retailer makes $100,000 a day from its mobile site, a 1-second page delay could mean around $2.5 million in lost sales every year. If you want to find out how your site performs, Google provides a free tool to help you test both your mobile and desktop speed, and your mobile friendliness.

Double-check your hosting
There’s nothing worse than getting an opportunity to sell more with your website only to watch the hosting fail. Run load balance tests to make sure your hosting can handle the holiday shopping traffic. Call your hosting provider to review your current configuration.

Plan your sales and promotions

Have dedicated landing pages to promote your specials. Use email sign-ups to notify shoppers of the moment the specials launch, getting instant impact from marketing campaigns.

Make last-minute improvements to site search relevancy

A large percentage of online sales are being driven by organic search and pay-per-click. It’s becoming clear that consumers are identifying what they need and specifically selecting the best option for them.

Look at search history on your own site to see what can be improved. For example, are shoppers searching for, but not finding certain products? If so, set up synonyms or redirects to get them to the right set of products quickly.

Optimize your search bar

Since site search visitors convert at a much greater rate, you may want to spend some time optimizing. There are many ways to do this, and all of them are detailed in our site search optimization guide. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Expand your search bar (don’t use an icon)
  • Center your search bar
  • Use a white background and a contrasting border
  • Add whitespace around your search bar

Merchandise
There are many merchandising strategies you can employ to improve the shopping experience on your store. You can take a look at our extensive merchandising guide to get all the details, but for now, consider the following: 

  • Add product badging
  • Add advertising banners
  • Create custom landing pages for your best deals
  • Move on-sale products to the top of your search and category results pages
  • Move out-of-stock products to the last page

Make last-minute SEO improvements
SEO is very important since about a quarter of your traffic during cyber week will come from organic search. Here are a few last-minute things to check and fix:

  • Optimize crawl efficiency and indexing
  • Strategically “no-index” sections of your site
  • Analyze your XML sitemap health – ensure that none of the URLs are:
    • Canonicalized to a different page
    • 301 or 302 redirected
    • 400 errors
    • 500 errors
    • URLS with noindex tags

Optimize your category navigation
While many visitors will be searching for a specific product, others will be looking for something more generic. Here are a few suggestions on how to improve your site’s navigation for these visitors:

  • Order your filters by popularity, not alphabetically
  • Collapse filter/facet groups by default if you have 10 or more
  • Allow scrolling inside your filter group boxes (in other words, limit their height)
  • Normalize your filters. For example: Consolidate filters for violet and purple

View our entire category navigation guide to learn additional optimizations.

Optimize for mobile

At this stage in ecommerce, it may seem silly to talk about how important mobile is, but there are still many opportunities to improve mobile shopping experiences. Responsive sites make up the majority of the “mobile-friendly” web these days, but they actually aren’t the ideal solution for most shoppers and merchants.

Responsive sites often struggle to manage layouts for different UI elements across the many different screen sizes that shoppers will browse on.

ecommerce site search errors

With mobile making up about 30% of online sales, you simply can’t afford to have issues like this. While responsive sites were a good answer for a while (and may be a good solution again someday), there is no replacement for a dedicated mobile experience.

Plan for attacks
Talk to your service providers to learn what plans they have in place to deal with a massive DDoS attack. Ensure that you have a communication plan in case service to your site is disrupted. Make sure that you have multiple lines of communication with your customers so that you can keep them informed. There are some mitigation strategies that can help you in the event of an attack, and there are agencies that can help you set these up.

SearchSpring Historical Stats

searchspring cyber week report card

Revenue & Traffic

In terms of traffic and gross revenue, 2018 was the biggest year our customers have ever seen! Congratulations to each and every one of them. A total of 38,881,158 sessions were recorded across all of our customer sites. Earning a grand total of $176,538,022 in the days between 11/23 and 11/26. That’s a total of $4.54 per visitor!

Site search conversion rates were higher than normal, averaging 10.18%, which no doubt helped drive these record revenue figures. Here’s a look at the total increases for all customers compared to last year:

  • Traffic increase of 50%
  • Black Friday revenue increase of 33%

Performance

Cyber week is incredibly exciting for all of us, but it’s also a time when a lot of us lose sleep. Will my site stay up? What happens if we’re too aggressive with free shipping options? Etc. All of that extra stress on our web hosting infrastructure and third-party integrations is a little bit scary for most of us.

Fortunately, everything went off without a hitch. Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • Average response times = 125ms (50% of requests under 100ms)
  • Average indexing wait time = 2 seconds
  • 6,329 Feeds acquired (Cyber Weekend only)
  • 312 hours of computing time actively acquiring updated product data
  • 12,371 indexing jobs processed successfully (Cyber Weekend only)

276 hours of computing time to process all indexing updates (Cyber Weekend only)

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