From Black Friday to Cyber Monday

Americans may have ingested a coma-inducing amount of turkey last Thursday but they apparently fought off sleep long enough to do some serious shopping online. While Cyber Monday may have online retailers as giddy as the 10 year old who actually gets a Wii this Christmas, retail traffic peaked early. More importantly, purchases did too.

The chart below helps show that people were using the top 30 internet retailers to not only buy, but coordinate on and offline purchases:

"¢ Thanksgiving represented the highest retailer traffic during the period, but the trend of declining conversion from the 19th to the 23rd contrasted with an explosion in site visitors demonstrates that many people were using online retailers to find Brick and Mortar deals, and wait for price breaks before purchasing online.

"¢ The spike in conversion (80% in a day) and page views on the 24th (Black Friday) shows people diving deeper into retail sites, and making purchases the they had previously waited on.

Thanksgiving Weekend Biggest Winners and Losers
Conversion Change From Last year
Traffic Growth From Pre-Holiday Season
Amazon 81%       Circuit City 238%
Circuity City 46%       Bestbuy 193%
Barnes and Noble 25%       Walmart 168%
Average 14%       Average 69%
HSN -14%       Victorias Secret 44%
JCPenny -18%       Home Depot 20%
Dell -25%       Dell -20%
Calculated using the four days after Thanksgiving, 2005, 2006

Looking back at the 2005 Thanksgiving weekend illustrates a years worth of improvement in site design: as a whole, retailers converted 14% more shoppers into buyers this thanksgiving weekend than last, but some developers may be getting coal this year:

"¢ Amazon improved average conversion by an impressive 81% (even before considering its enormous size)

"¢ Dell conversion declined 25% from last year, which, considering its almost exclusively online sales model, indicates a potentially serious problem.

Comparing Thanksgiving weekend site traffic to traffic before the holiday buying buildup gives a clear indication of the types of gifts people are shopping for this year. As I said before the shopping frenzy"¦gadgets rule (unless you’re Dell).

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