Holiday Shipping: A Look Back at ShipEngine’s 2020 Performance on Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most important ecommerce days of the year. Some thought ecommerce sales would plummet in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Ecommerce boomed in late November and into December — and ShipEngine responded to the high volume with reliable performance and speed.

Is your business ready for 2021’s peak ecommerce season? Here’s more about the ecommerce boom from 2020, data on how ShipEngine handled the high volume, plus details on what to expect this year. 

Ecommerce Boomed During the 2020 Holiday Season

In 2020, ecommerce shipping experienced 2 years of growth in a single peak season, reaching $188.2 billion — representing 32% growth year over year.

According to the Deloitte Holiday Insight 2020 report, online shopping initially spiked in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first started spreading around the world. As consumers sheltered in place and brick-and-mortar stores closed, ecommerce boomed. Online sales remained elevated through the holiday season, even as brick-and-mortar stores reopened and foot traffic rebounded.

Overall, consumer retail spending recovered through the summer and into the holiday season thanks to online sales. Online sales for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday increased 19% and 15% respectively despite a decrease in overall sales due to lower foot traffic at brick-and-mortar locations.

How Did ShipEngine Respond to the High Volume?

With the rapid rise in ecommerce sales, it’s more important than ever to have consistent, reliable platforms on which to run your business. At ShipEngine, we can boast sub-second response times and 99.99% uptime year-round, ensuring that all users enjoy a seamless shipping experience on high-volume days, whenever they may be.

On Nov. 30, 2020 — better known as Cyber Monday — ShipEngine:

  • Processed more than 8.6 million shipments.
  • Reached 90,000 RPM at the peak.
  • Responded in 400 milliseconds at the peak.
  • Responded in 220 milliseconds on average.

One challenge with scaling software is that you never know exactly what the load numbers will look like — you can only know the load your system can handle. There will always be uncertainty, but we code and load test our APIs to scale effectively whenever needed while quickly identifying specific issues.

Our end-to-end testing helps us prepare for problems that may arise before they happen. While everyone was preparing for a busy holiday season, no one could have foreseen the unprecedented boom in online ordering. Through proactive load testing and by simulating the high-volume moments experienced on fast-paced days, the ShipEngine engineering team was prepared for this unexpected increase in demand without missing a beat.

This past year has shown that it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. It takes coordination across teams to make the changes that lead to reliable uptime. But the effort is well worth it when it leads to outstanding experiences for our users.

Trust ShipEngine This Peak Season

Ecommerce retail businesses often rely on a strong peak season to drive profitability. If you run an ecommerce business, you have countless tasks to complete and decisions to make. You shouldn’t have to worry about shipping or the stability of your shipping platform.

At ShipEngine, we offer world-class shipping services and APIs, plus a load-tested platform that you can trust on high-volume days. When you’re ready to solve shipping for your ecommerce business, signup to start building with ShipEngine — or contact one of our shipping experts to learn more about getting started.

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