Thanks to Covid-19, 2020 has been a year in which e-commerce leapt ahead of all expectations to achieve a decade’s worth of growth in just under nine months. As a result, the novelty of online shopping will have worn off and become a normal part of daily life. More consumers than ever are online not only looking for steep discounts and crazy deals but are also relying on e-commerce for necessities and basics. This holiday season, the Cyber-Five shopping period appears to be on track for moving almost completely online, influenced by skyrocketing Covid numbers, lockdowns and social distancing guidelines, a new level of comfort with online shopping, and a wide array of bargains to incentivize shopping online.
E-commerce has always been somewhat unpredictable, characterized by predictable peaks on “shopping holidays” such as Black Friday (and the weekend that follows) and Singles Day. Other more “everyday” events and trends make online shopping spikes inevitable but completely unpredictable, such as when a celebrity wears something that sparks off a spike in demand.
The countdown is on - we’re just a week away from Black Friday, meaning that you have already prepared your website to face the traffic demands it will - hopefully - face and surmount. In previous years, we’ve written about getting ready for Black Friday because it has traditionally been a peak-traffic occasion, but it has become common for outages to occur at other random peak-traffic times because there are actually other major, but sometimes predictable, traffic jams. As it happens, major shopping days are no longer limited to the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend each year - with the end-of-year shopping season beginning online earlier and earlier, and the biggest stumbling blocks lately happening in the US on Thanksgiving Day itself.
The nature of Black Friday is changing, with the trend leaning toward more and more brick-and-mortar retailers staying closed on the big post-Thanksgiving (in the US at least) ‘biggest shopping day of the year’. But this isn’t just an altruistic reprieve on the part of retailers, giving their employees a well-deserved day off with their families: the new reality is that most people are doing their shopping and searching for the best deals online.