Web crashes cast black cloud over Cyber Monday


While online orders passed £1 billion in a single day for the first time last Friday, Experian-IMRG suggested that £943 million had been spent yesterday, reports The Times.

Amazon was a big winner, selling 86 items every second on Friday and 7.4 million in total. Yesterday, it was releasing new deals every ten minutes and it will extend Cyber Monday discounts until Friday.

Companies with less developed online technology and those not used to the high level of traffic, such as Argos and John Lewis, suffered losses when their websites crashed.

John Lewis reported record sales for Friday, with an 11.9 per cent rise on last year. Tesco Direct had its busiest ever 24 hours on Friday, while Currys PC World had 6.5 million visitors between Friday and Sunday.

TrafficDefender, a monitoring service, highlighted that PayPal was periodically down and blocking payments. At 5pm yesterday afternoon, it predicted that website failures since Black Friday would cost the retail industry £2 billion.

Jamie Turner, the company’s co-founder, said: “Black Friday eclipses all other discount days and this year is no different, as it surpassed 2014 transaction levels by 16 per cent. While we see retailers continuing to slash prices online to prolong the shopping fever on Cyber Monday, this typically pales in comparison to Black Friday as shoppers are already spent.”

The highest rise in Cyber Monday activity compared with a normal day was in the Outer Hebrides, followed by Falkirk and Stirling, (the distinctly non-Scottish) Croydon, Perth and Motherwell.

The increase in online orders has led to pressure on deliveries, with more than 40 million made on Friday to Monday. According to LCP Consulting, the supply chain specialist, one in ten parcels could arrive late.

However, Mark Lewis, the retail director of John Lewis, said that the company’s distribution teams contributed to the “standout success of the day”, processing “18 per cent more parcels across Friday, Saturday and Sunday compared with last year”.

Julie Palmer, of Begbies Traynor, the corporate consultancy, warned that “as well as the hit to margins of such heavy discounting, the reputational risks associated with website inefficiencies and delayed deliveries have more longer-lasting knockbacks for retailers, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday failings translate into lost customers over the coming weeks, as well as a longer-term corrosion of trust in the brands”.