Akamai, a leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimising and securing online content and business applications, today announced the figures for retail traffic volumes on its Intelligent Platform at the end of November, and simultaneous research carried out with British consumers into online shopping. The marketing flurry that accompanied the Black Friday sales of Friday 28th November in Europe resulted in a sharp rise in peak retail traffic volumes of almost three times their 2014 baseline traffic levels and almost four times their average 2013 levels.
An online study carried out in Great Britain with YouGov at the same time further underlines the continued growth in online shopping, with 24% of the survey respondents saying they do not plan to use the high street for Christmas shopping during the festive season, instead electing to shop online and in other ways.
Akamai is well placed to provide insights into the trends observed across its e-commerce customer base, both globally, and in Europe. The company delivers 2 trillion Internet transactions every day, and supports hundreds of e-commerce global customers to provide first class web experiences to their users.
Looking at the traffic patterns observed on the Akamai platform along with the results of the Akamai-sponsored YouGov survey indicates several interesting trends related to online shopping in Europe.
The combined findings reveal:
• Black Friday and Cyber Monday have arrived in Europe!
• The biggest surge in traffic was Black Friday, with levels peaking at 280% the 2014 baseline, and 360% the 2013 baseline.
• The peaks on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday clearly show that these traditionally American shopping days have well and truly arrived in Europe. The UKI region is leading Black Friday adoption in Europe, contributing heavily to the Europe traffic peak.

Mobile traffic continues to increase
In 2013, it was reported that UK mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic throughout the holiday season for the first time. 2014 is reinforcing these findings. Across our customer base in the UK and Ireland, mobile devices have accounted for 52% of traffic this holiday season.

This increase in mobile traffic is reflected in the distribution of devices used to browse. iPad traffic now accounts for 21% of mobile traffic, with iPhone and Android devices representing 16% and 15%. While several years ago, Windows and Mac desktop traffic shares would have been in the vast majority, they have now decreased to 40% and 8% respectively.

Mobile traffic levels highest early morning and evening
Throughout this holiday season, we have observed that mobile device traffic has been at its highest early in the morning, drops during the day and then progressively increases throughout the evening. Conversely, desktop traffic has continuously shown peaks during the working day.

“The rise in volumes of retail traffic across our platform this holiday season, reflect the growth of the e-commerce industry across Europe, as well as the increased popularity of key events from the global e-commerce calendar. The continuing trend of mobility highlights the importance of providing websites that are optimised for mobile browsing, in order to capitalise on this growth area” said Enrique Duvos, Product Marketing Director EMEA at Akamai.

YouGov Research Findings
The challenge of delivering great user experiences to consumers looms large as retailers grapple with optimising sites and content for the many permutations of device, operating system, browser, screen size and connection speed, that they might have to serve web pages and content to. This is reflected in the survey, where only 29% of respondents expect a mobile phone to be as fast as a desktop computer when shopping online, and a mere 11% expect it to be faster.

The YouGov online research asked respondents to name the different methods they have used or plan to use for Christmas shopping: 25% are not planning to visit any physical stores this year but shop online using their desktop (25%), laptop (43%), tablet (20%) or smartphone (16%). Only 2% expect to conduct any Christmas shopping over the telephone. Across the Akamai customer base in the UK and Ireland, mobile devices have accounted for 52% of observed traffic this holiday season, with desktop devices accounting for 48%.
When asked about abandoning unresponsive websites those aged between 25–34 were most intolerant of sites that were slow to load or unresponsive to button presses. The difference between genders was marginal, with men marginally more impatient.

Additional findings from the online YouGov survey include:
• 86% of respondents will shop online over the festive period
• 43% of respondents say they will do most online shopping between 1st and 25th December
• 28% said that they will have done most of their online shopping in November, with 32% of women stating this compared with 23% of men
• Concerns about cybercrime rise broadly with age and over three quarters (77%) of respondents aged 55+ are likely to stop using an online service or retailer they had seen media reports stating a site had been affected by cybercrime. 65% of respondents in general are fairly or very likely to do the same.

Published on: 11:30AM on 16th December 2014