Has Cyber Monday Been Time-Shifted?

Updated: Amazon (s amzn) is experiencing some slow response times this morning, and I imagine it’s because the site is getting hammered not only by reporters seeking Black Friday stories, but also millions of customers who asked themselves, “Why brave the cold for holiday deals when I can get whatever I need while sipping coffee in my pajamas?” Some marketing guru may have created the concept of Cyber Monday a few years back to highlight how folks hop online at work on the Monday after Thanksgiving to shop, but we all know that the web scoffs at such a restrictive time frames.

Indeed, the cyber shopping rush has already begun, with Akamai (s akam) reporting that at around 11:30 a.m. ET some 6,591,354 global visitors per minute were hitting retail sites, which is about 48 percent above normal. I’ve reached out to other traffic and site measurement companies to see how the web sites of major retailers are responding and will update the post accordingly, but it’s safe to say that for FedEx, UPS and all the national agencies responsible for delivering our online purchases, the holiday shipping season is upon us.

Bonus Reading: Check out this post about the black Friday on The Google Blog. ComparisonEngines has outlined its predictions for the 2009 holiday shopping season.

Update: Akamai says the peak for the day occurred around noon ET with 6,689,646 visitors per minute hitting retail sites. Matt Poespel, VP of Performance Strategies at Gomez, the Web performance division of Compuware, emailed that Avon, Nike, and Zappos were among Friday’s top performers in terms of delivering sites quickly, but Kohl’s and Staples saw intermittent performance problems on Friday.