Online retailers need to prepare for 'Peak Week'

Retailers and ecommerce providers looking to take advantage of heightened sales activity this holiday shopping season should take a look at where and when consumers are flocking online.

Retailers and ecommerce providers looking to take advantage of heightened sales activity this holiday shopping season should take a look at where and when consumers are flocking online.

Of course, there are the notorious consumer spending dates, such as Black Friday and Christmas Eve, but according to a new report, the week leading up to Cyber Monday may be the most active for online shopping.

A report released this week by Experian Marketing Services shows how critical the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday ("Peak Week") is for securing online sales.

Email volume increased 26 percent in 2010 versus 2009 during this week alone, the report points out, while online traffic to the top 500 retail sites increased 5 percent over the same period. The study also found online searches for Black Friday deals begin to ramp up as early as mid-October.

"For many years, the assumption had been that Peak Week online traffic was researched-based," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Experian MS, "as consumers were searching for the best brick-and-mortar Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving Day before heading to the store the next day."