Cyber Weekend Expected to be More of a Global Event

Following on the heels of Singles Day’s global explosion on Nov. 11, cloud computing platform provider Akamai is predicting that Cyber Weekend will see a similar expansion beyond its traditional geographic boundaries.

Akamai senior director Ari Weil pointed to the fact that Singles Day drew in 60,000 merchants, and buyers from 225 countries, as evidence the same will happen for Cyber Weekend.

“Typically, Singles Day has primarily pulled in shoppers from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, areas around mainland China, but this year it was truly global,” Weil said. “We feel it’s an indication that retailers and consumers globally are realizing (shopping holidays) are opportunities to take advantage of deals, and it doesn’t matter that it’s a Chinese or a U.S. holiday.”

While historically Cyber Weekend has been a phenomenon in a limited number of countries outside the U.S., including primarily Canada and Great Britain, “the data is suggesting it will be a global holiday for first time, similar to Singles Day,” Weil said.

Weil said in addition to China and other nearby countries, Akamai saw the heaviest concentrations of web traffic during Singles Day 2016 from European nations with significant online activity including the UK, Spain, France and Germany. This year, he said, there was a broadening of increased ecommerce activity from other countries.

“Last year we saw a long tail of a very small proportion of traffic from other areas (besides the far east and Europe),” Weil said. “Now it’s more consistently spread. A significant proportion of traffic came from many other places, whereas in 2016 it was centered on just 8-12 countries.”

In terms of increased web traffic tied to Singles Day, the countries with the highest increase in hits to the Akamai platform over 2016 were Brazil and the Netherlands (both 136%) and the U.S. (133%).

The most surprising statistic from Singles Day 2017, he said, was the fact that 90% of the ecommerce traffic came from mobile devices, a staggering figure considering globally the figure is around 50% normally.

“It was completely outside the pale for what’s standard across the industry,” Weil said. “We tried to compare it to a number of other factors, but there were no material changes in the size or complexity of (mobile) sites. But we do know that mobile sites are loading faster. We published research in the spring on the positive correlation of faster load times and increased mobile conversion.”

While page load times were faster across the board on Singles Day, they were especially improved on mobile sites, leading to improved conversion rates, Akamai found.

“We have observed that businesses are investing more in their mobile apps, especially where user experience is concerned,” Weil said. “Major retailers saw the mobile traffic and commerce transacted last year and have been deploying more specific and advanced use cases for mobile apps.”

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