The INITIAL Black Friday numbers were good but we won't know what the actuals are for a bit and we really won't know what the impact is until we know how much of the traffic was profitable and how much was on loss leaders. We also need to see what the amount of CREDIT that was added to the consumer credit cycle and if it will be addressed quickly or will it become part of more debt [we have learned by now that we can't spend our way out of debt, haven't we?]. So we should know by January if this was/will be a good shopping season.
Last year's numbers were uneven and were the harbinger of the start of the RECESSION that experts say started about then.
Tracker: Afternoon traffic hit 6.7M visitors a minute!!
After a slow start to the online holiday shopping season last week, Web retailers got their groove back Monday and broke some records.
The percentage of U.S. visits to the top 500 retail sites was down 11% on Thanksgiving Day vs. the same day last year, says market researcher Hitwise, and the trend continued through the weekend. U.S. traffic was down 5% on Black Friday and down 8% on Saturday.
But things improved on the first day many were back to work after Thanksgiving, now called Cyber Monday because of all the promotions on individual sites and the National Retail Federation's CyberMonday.com.
By 10 a.m. ET Monday, online visits to Web tracker Akamai Technologies' approximately 280 retail customer sites topped last Cyber Monday's peak of 4.6 million visitors per minute. By 3 p.m. Akamai's global retail customers — which include Best Buy and Victoria's Secret — were experiencing 6.7 million online visitors per minute — the most Akamai has seen since it started collecting the data in 2005.
Concerns remain that price cuts are gouging profits at a time when few can afford it, but retailers are hoping that those who come for the bargains will buy higher-priced items, too.
David Fry, whose e-commerce company operates the sites for several major retail chains, says that "things are better than expected." His clients reported traffic increases of 30% to 60% compared with last year and revenue up 10% to 20%.
Cyber Monday wasn't without problems. Web-tracking firm Keynote Systems says Gap (which owns Old Navy and Banana Republic) had a 20-minute outage. Worse yet, the J. Crew site was down for more than four hours.
NRF's digital division Shop.org launched CyberMonday.com in 2006 to capitalize on all the online shopping that was being done the Monday after Thanksgiving, especially at lunch. The site went from 1.5 million visitors last year to a projected 2 million this year, site operator Mall Networks says. NRF also began hosting a Washington, D.C., event that gives shoppers free lunch and laptop use for Web shopping.
Rachel Sandor and Giorgia Horrell didn't shop on Black Friday, but fought some crowds at Macy's on Saturday. Monday, they joined NRF and about 400 others for more civilized online shopping for the "Shop@Lunch" event. They checked out deals on pet supplies and books, bucking a trend this season toward electronics purchases.
Online auctioneer eBay, for example, says it sold 3,171 Wii consoles on Black Friday, nearly 10 times the 358 it sold the same day last year.
Cyber Monday draws millions online for holiday shopping - USATODAY.com