If Web traffic translates into online sales, this year's holiday season is gearing up to much better than last year's - contrary to the doom-and-gloom forecasts for the holiday season.
Traffic to online retail sites today - Cyber Monday - far exceeded last year's Cyber Monday traffic. This year, the traffic peaked around 3 p.m. ET, with 6.7 million global visitors per minute - a 46 percent jump over the peak of 4.6 million on Cyber Monday last year. Today's peak traffic also exceeded Black Friday's peak of 5.9 million and Sunday's 6.5 million.
Still, it's unclear how these figures were impacted by outages and other Web performance problems on some sites Monday morning. According to Gomez Inc., which tracks Web performance, at least three retail sites - Williams-Sonoma, Dell and Victoria's Secret - had problems Monday. Victoria's Secret customers received error messages when trying to items into their online shopping carts. Williams-Sonoma customers saw page load times double from 26 seconds to 50 seconds as customers tried to access shopping cart and view payment pages. Dell.com had issues for about 30 minutes on Monday when information about return customers was not automatically populating the site.
In a blog post this morning, I noted how the pressure was on for Cyber Monday. Black Friday sales were up slightly over last year but eyes were on Cyber Monday, which has been an indicator for the last few years of the year-over-year growth of online sales for the full holiday season. Last year, sales on Cyber Monday were up 21 percent over the previous year, while full season sales grew 19 percent, according to comScore. The year before, Cyber Monday sales and full-season sales both grew 26 percent over the previous year.