Strong Start to Online Shopping Season Revealed by Akamai's Net Usage Index for Retail

Cambridge, MA |

Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leading global service provider for accelerating content and business processes online, today released data that confirms a steady increase in visitors to online shopping sites, with specifics on how retail Web traffic has been building in advance of the year-end holidays. The Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail (www.akamai.com/netusageindex) indicates that global audiences visiting leading shopping Web sites have been increasing at an average rate of 3.6 percent weekly since October 31st, 2005, with traffic at its highest on Mondays at approximately 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

The Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally the largest online shopping day of the year in the U.S., according to recent retail reports, and the Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail indicates that trend will repeat this year. The Index will be tracking the actual size of today's turnout at major shopping sites worldwide. The Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail measures the habits of online shoppers worldwide by providing an aggregate view of total visitors per minute to more than 200 global e-commerce sites delivered by Akamai.

Early findings of the Net Usage Index for Retail reveal a steady increase of e-commerce visitors:

Weekly North American Online Retail Visitor Growth

Week Beginning
Peak visitors per
minute for the week
Day and time of peak
visitors per minute
Change in peak from prior week
  Oct. 31st   1,305,000   Nov. 2nd - 5pm EDT   NA
  Nov. 7th   1,393,000   Nov. 7th - 4pm EDT   6.32%
  Nov. 14th   1,442,363   Nov. 14th - 4pm EDT   3.42%
  Nov. 21st   1,626,365   Nov. 27th - 9pm EDT   11.31%
Average Weekly Change
  7.02%

Weekly Global Online Retail Visitor Growth

Week Beginning
Peak visitors per
minute for the week
Day and time of peak
visitors per minute
Change in peak from prior week
  Oct. 31st   2,325,600   Nov. 1st - 2pm EDT   NA
  Nov. 7th   2,477,200   Nov. 7th - 2pm EDT   6.12%
  Nov. 14th   2,536,349   Nov. 14th - 2pm EDT   2.33%
  Nov. 21st   2,599,200   Nov. 21st - 1:30pm EDT   2.43%
Average Weekly Change
  3.63%

"Now for the first time, the world can watch in real-time just how many people are visiting many of the leading online merchants and learn where e-commerce is growing the fastest and at what pace," said Akamai President and CEO Paul Sagan. "The Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail records in real-time the breakneck pace at which online shopping is increasing, demonstrating again how the balance of power in the global economy has shifted from sellers to buyers in what we have dubbed the emerging Demand Economy."

Data from website visitor traffic delivered by Akamai during the past three months shows that people around the globe visit e-commerce sites most often on Mondays. Among online shoppers in North America, peak traffic to retail sites occurs in the late afternoon EDT. Globally, peak online shopping time is Monday in the mid-afternoon EDT.

The Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail has recorded a consistent significant dip in retail website traffic on Saturdays around the world. Also, the Index saw a discernable drop in online retail traffic in North America during the evening of Halloween, a Monday, when people's interests were apparently focused on holiday festivities.

Earlier this year, Akamai launched the Net Usage Index for News, which tracks online consumption of news across a representative set of Akamai's news websites and portals. Both indices are intended to provide unique insight into the massive cultural and economic changes resulting from new ways people worldwide get news and information and act as consumers online.

The Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail helps to confirm and provide real-time insight into the trend of consumers increasing their share of spending on the Web. "Online consumers spend 7 percent of shopping dollars online, and that number is expected to rise 12 percent by 2009," writes Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li in her May 2005 report US Online Marketing Forecast: 2005 to 2010. "In 2004, 36.8 million U.S. households, or 34 percent of all households, shopped online. While there will be a steady growth of new households shopping online for the first time, broadband adoption — which will reach 60 percent in 2009 — will spur new online spending."

The end of the year has proven to be the busiest shopping time — both offline and online. The Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail tracks the online retail traffic of more than 200 e-commerce sites around the world by continent in real-time, with historical data also available. The index is tracking those companies that sell goods over the Web and have the items packaged and shipped to consumers. The Index does not include traffic to sites that deliver digital goods such as music downloads, or services such as airline tickets.

Akamai is not collecting data on individual end users, nor releasing specific traffic levels for any particular retail site. Rather, the Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail measures Internet traffic dedicated to e-commerce sites by geography, as well as the world as a whole. Akamai is not tracking the products visitors viewed and will not specifically track if a product was purchased. Akamai is simply tracking visitors per minute to aggregate retail sites by geography to show measurements such as when people around the world go online to search or shop for products, if the release of certain items or products cause a spike in online traffic, etc.

Widget To Be Available November 29 for Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail

A desktop Widget (for Mac and Windows) will be available for the Akamai Net Usage Index for Retail. It can be downloaded from http://www.akamai.com/html/technology/visualizing_akamai.html, and it lets users monitor traffic to e-commerce sites worldwide in real-time

The Widget features:

  • Geographic online shopping trends 
  • Traffic statistics by number of visitors per minute 
  • Whether traffic on any given day and time is above or below the average, and by how much

About Akamai

Akamai® is the leading global service provider for accelerating content and business processes online. More than 1,800 organizations have formed trusted relationships with Akamai, improving their revenue and reducing costs by maximizing the performance of their online businesses. Leveraging the Akamai EdgePlatform, these organizations gain business advantage today, and have the foundation for the emerging Web solutions of tomorrow. Akamai is "The Trusted Choice for Online Business." For more information, visit www.akamai.com.

Akamai Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act

The release contains information about future expectations, plans and prospects of Akamai's management that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors including, but not limited to, absence of information about actual revenues generated by online site visits, any inaccuracies in data collected or reported by Akamai, changes in Akamai's retail customer base, unpredictability of Internet usage by individuals and other factors that are discussed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and other documents periodically filed with the SEC.