2011 Holiday Season Demonstrates Continued Customer Preference for Online Shopping: Are Retailers Keeping Pace?
January 12, 2012
Sunnyvale, Calif., January 12, 2012 – The record-breaking holiday season of 2011 continued an important trend: holiday crowds aren’t rushing to brick-and-mortar stores anymore. Instead, consumers, who spent $18.7 billion online during the 2011 holidays1, are flocking to online sites for their seasonal shopping. Online holiday spending rose 15 percent from 2010; a significant increase for a season that already drives 40 percent of retailers’ online revenues2.
Consumers spent $6 billion online during the week ending December 2, which included Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to the New York Times. Nielsen surveys found that an impressive 80 percent of US consumers went online for their Black Friday purchases3. And for the first time ever, consumers broke the $1 billion online sales mark during Cyber Monday.
Big box retailers reported even greater year-over-year gains. Best Buy reported that its online sales rose 26 percent between December 2010-20114. Amazon sold 13.7 million items on Cyber Monday alone, the equivalent of 158 items per second, according to the Motley Fool5.
With numbers like that, retailers need to ensure their e-commerce infrastructure can keep up with demand. “In a competitive market segment, such as e-commerce, providing online shoppers with a rich user experience and response time consistency is an important factor for growing revenue and sustaining customers,” wrote Gene Alvarez, research vice president at Gartner Research.
Unfortunately, many retailers’ online infrastructures are not designed for the demand spikes seen during the holiday season, making them prone to failure. IT downtime costs companies $26.5 billion in revenue each year, a Computer Associates survey found6, not to mention damage to their reputations and customer satisfaction. During the busy holiday season, downtime represents even more of a threat. If Amazon had crashed during its peak this past year, it would have lost 158 sales per second of downtime. And for every second that Amazon.com is down, a competitor like Walmart.com is waiting with similar products and prices.
“Online retailers need to ensure that their customers’ experiences remain stellar, especially during peak periods like the holidays,” said Scott Sellers, CEO of Azul Systems, the award-winning leader in Java runtime scalability. “Azul enables e-commerce platforms to remain very responsive and available, even under extreme user loads. With Azul retailers no longer need to worry about how their systems will perform during peak periods and they can focus instead on new ways to enrich their online customer experience and grow their business.”
Azul ships a Java virtual machine (JVM) designed for enterprise applications and workloads that demand high transaction rates, consistent response times and high sustained throughput. The Azul JVM is the only runtime that can elastically scale an application in both CPU and memory utilization based on real-time demand, to ensure uptime and application consistency. Major retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Belk and Puma, use Azul to guarantee consistent response times and improve the utilization of their e-commerce infrastructure. Over the 2011 holiday shopping season Azul clients were consistently ranked in the top 10 sites for online retail transaction performance as reported by Keynote Systems Inc.7 data.
“Azul’s unique approach to application scalability is unmatched,” said Ron Cavallo, Director of Infrastructure for Saks Fifth Avenue. “With the Azul Java solution we saw tremendous improvements in application performance and response time consistency in our production website.”
Retailers must equip themselves with infrastructure that can handle dramatic spikes during holiday demand. 2011 saw record sales numbers and it is likely that 2012 will see even higher online shopping volumes. With Azul retailers can break sales records without breaking their systems.
About Azul Systems
Azul Systems delivers high-performance and elastic Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) with unsurpassed scalability, manageability and production-time visibility. Designed and optimized for x86 servers and enterprise-class workloads, Azul’s Zing JVM is the only Java runtime that supports highly consistent and pauseless execution for throughput-intensive and QoS-sensitive Java applications. Azul’s products enable organizations to dramatically simplify Java deployments with fewer instances, greater response time consistency, and dramatically better operating costs.
1 The New York Times, “E-Commerce Sales are Booming, Thanks to Discounts and Free Shipping,” Claire Cain Miller, 6 December 2011.
2 Azul Systems Blog, “How Dark was Your Black Friday?” George Gould, 28 November 2011.
3 Nielsen Wire, “80% of US Consumers Skipping Stores on Black Friday,” 22 November 2011.
4 The Financial Times, “Christmas Results Highlight Chains’ Struggles,” Barney Jopson, 6 January 2012.
5 The Motley Fool, “More Facts and Stats That Will Blow Your Mind,” Austin Smith, 30 December 2011.
6 InformationWeek, “IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue,” http://www.informationweek.com/news/storage/disaster_recovery/229625441, Chandler Harris, 24 May 2011.
7 Keynote Systems: Transaction Performance Index for online retail Web Site: Apparel