RealTime IT News

Cyber Monday Breaks Records

The Cyber Monday numbers are in and they don't disappoint. Now, e-tailers just have to make sure nothing crashes under all the weight.

In the world of e-commerce, the Monday after Thanksgiving is referred to as Cyber Monday. As the first workday after the long weekend, it's expected to be big for online retail, with Internet-connected employees get to their holiday shopping.

This year, Cyber Monday once again saw the highest unique audience of any day so far this holiday season with 29.5 million unique visits to Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday eShopping Index, according to the metrics firm.

Sixteen million of those visits came from the workplace, Neilsen//NetRatings said. That's up 7 percent over last year. Of that, eBay, Amazon and Wal-Mart again took the top three spots, drawing 5.6 million, 4.2 million and 2.5 million unique visitors, respectively.

The top shopping search engine was Shopzilla.com with 959,000 unique visitors.

Customer spending on Cyber Monday totaled $608 million, up 26 percent versus the same day last year, according to comScore.

The numbers follow similarly positive ones from the Friday after Thanksgiving, often called Black Friday, when customers spent $434 million, according to comScore.

The traffic is keeping the industry very busy. Shopster.com CEO Sarath Samarasekera told internetnews.com the 1,500 e-stores his company hosts across the United States and Canada saw a 48 percent increase in week-over-week traffic ending on Cyber Monday.

He said shoppers came to Shopster.com's sites in droves almost as soon as they got to work on Monday, and that there won't be a slowdown till a few days before Christmas.

In the meantime, it's all about making sure the e-stores stay up and running. A heavy traffic day such as Cyber Monday can go from boon to bust in four seconds flat. So what's an e-tailer to do?

Network General's Technical Marketing Manager James Messer said online retailers have to find ways to monitor each component of their networks on a granular as well as a macro level.

And of course Messer would say that, Network General's bread and butter is its Network Intelligence Suit which serves just such a purpose.

But Samarasekera agreed that effective network monitoring is the crucial first step needed to keep your online storefront open for business, though he did not specifically mention Network General's products.

"Lots of new monitoring systems were put in on our sites over the last few months. That way if a site went down for even a millisecond, alarms would go off," he said.

And for good reason. Because a heavy traffic day such as Cyber Monday can go from boon to bust in four seconds flat.

"A consumer will go to a different site if it takes more than four seconds for their page to load," Samarasekera said. "Performance is absolutely critical in this business."