João Tomé

Author Archives: João Tomé

Thanksgiving’s biggest online shopping day was Cyber Monday, but other days were close behind

Thanksgiving’s biggest online shopping day was Cyber Monday, but other days were close behind
Thanksgiving’s biggest online shopping day was Cyber Monday, but other days were close behind

November comes, the temperatures start to get colder for most of the planet's population (87% live in the Northern Hemisphere) and many are also starting to prepare for the festive season. That also brings significant changes in Internet traffic, most notably the online shopping kind of traffic.

So, what were the November days that e-commerce websites had the most traffic in the US and what about worldwide? Is humanity using more mobile Internet at this time? And what are the most popular days online — is Black Friday the winner?

We’ll dig into those questions using Cloudflare Radar. E-commerce is expanding and at an all-time high, especially after the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation process (e-commerce had a 32.4% increase in sales in the US in 2020 and is expected to grow this year).

Cyber Monday, a ‘last minute’ winner

Let’s start with e-commerce — we added a chart to Radar that shows trends for e-commerce by country. The worldwide trend is pretty evident: Cyber Monday, the day for supposedly last-minute discounts, was the clear winner.

#1. Cyber Monday, November 29.

#2. Monday, November 23.

#3. Black Friday, November 26 — November Continue reading

How the US paused shopping (and browsing) for Thanksgiving

How the US paused shopping (and browsing) for Thanksgiving

So, if you like to keep up with the tradition in the United States you and your family yesterday (November 25, 2021) celebrated Thanksgiving. So on a special day, with family gatherings for many and with a lot of cooking if you’re into the tradition (roast turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie), it makes sense that different Internet patterns show up on Cloudflare Radar.

First, let’s look at shopping habits. After a busy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, online shopping paused for Thanksgiving Day and dipped at lunchtime. So in a very good week for e-Commerce, Thanksgiving was an exception, especially at the extended lunchtime.

How the US paused shopping (and browsing) for Thanksgiving

Now, let’s focus on Internet traffic at the time of the Thanksgiving Dinner. First, what time is that? Every family is different, but a 2018 survey of US consumers showed that for 42% early afternoon (between 13:00 and 15:00 is the preferred time to sit at the table and start to dig in). But 16:00 seems to be the “correct time” — The Atlantic explains why.

Cloudflare Radar shows that Internet traffic in the US increased this past seven days, compared with the previous period, and that makes sense given that it’s traditionally a good week for Continue reading

Heard in the halls of Web Summit 2021

Heard in the halls of Web Summit 2021
Opening night of Web Summit 2021, at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Sam Barnes/Web Summit
Heard in the halls of Web Summit 2021

Global in-person events were back in a big way at the start of November (1-4) in Lisbon, Portugal, with Web Summit 2021 gathering more than 42,000 attendees from 128 countries. I was there to discover Internet trends and meet interesting people. What I saw was the contagious excitement of people from all corners of the world coming together for what seemed like a type of normality in a time when the Internet “is almost as important as having water”, according to Sonia Jorge from the World Wide Web Foundation.

Here’s some of what I heard in the halls.

With a lot happening on a screen, the lockdowns throughout the pandemic showed us a glimpse of what the metaverse could be, just without VR or AR headsets. Think about the way many were able to use virtual tools to work all day, learn, collaborate, order food, supplies, and communicate with friends and family — all from their homes.

While many had this experience, many others were unable to, with some talks at the event focusing on the digital divide and how “Internet access Continue reading

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown
Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

A few days after Sudan restored access to the Internet, people living in Burkina Faso are facing an Internet shutdown. On Saturday, Cloudflare Radar shows that after 22:00 UTC (the same local time) Internet traffic went down significantly, something that has happened in the context of social tensions in the country that started on November 14, 2021, and after this Saturday’s shooting of protesters that tried to block a French military convoy.

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

It is clear when we look at the last 30 days, that Sunday and today, Monday, November 22, are days almost without Internet traffic in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

All the Internet Service Providers (ISP) of the country were significantly affected by what we could see in our data. That is evident when we look at HTTP traffic by ASN (Autonomous System Number). Orange, FasoNet and Telecel are the three most used ISPs in the country and this chart clearly shows how they were impacted.

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

Mobile traffic affected

Burkina Faso is a mobile-first country because mobile is the main way of accessing the Internet — in the last 30 days the mobile traffic percentage represented 77% of the total Internet traffic in the country.

We can also Continue reading

Sudan was cut off from the Internet for 25 days

Sudan was cut off from the Internet for 25 days
Sudan was cut off from the Internet for 25 days

Internet traffic started to come back in Sudan (with limitations) on Thursday, November 18, 2021. This happened after 25 days of an almost complete shutdown that affected the whole country. It’s a simple line going up on a chart for us, but for a country that also meant that Internet access was (at least in part) back on with all of what comes with it for businesses, communities, families and society as a whole.

You can see that trend on Cloudflare Radar, in particular after 13:00 UTC (15:00 local time). After that Internet traffic went up like we haven’t seen at all in the previous three weeks.

Sudan was cut off from the Internet for 25 days
Sudan was cut off from the Internet for 25 days

Internet access was mostly cut off on October 25, 2021, after a political turmoil in the country. A Sudanese court previously ordered the restoration of Internet access on November 9, but until last Thursday, November 18, there were no signs of services returning to normal. The biggest Internet access shutdown in recent history in the country was back in 2019 — for a full 36 days.

Looking back at the last 30 days Cloudflare Radar shows very distinctively a big difference from what was previously normal in the country.

Sudan was cut off from the Internet for 25 days

On Wednesday, Continue reading

When students go back to school mobile usage goes down

When students go back to school mobile usage goes down
When students go back to school mobile usage goes down

For many (especially in the Northern Hemisphere, where about 87% of humans live), September is the “get back to school” (or work) month after a summer break and that also reflects changes in the Internet traffic, particularly in mobile usage.

Looking at our data (you can see many of these insights in Cloudflare Radar) there’s a global trend: mobile traffic lost importance (compared with desktop traffic) in September. The next chart shows there was less percentage of Internet traffic from mobile devices after Monday, September 6, 2021, with a difference of -2% in some days, compared with the previous four weeks (August), and in late September it’s more than -3%.

When students go back to school mobile usage goes down

We can also see that the percentage of desktop traffic increased in September compared to August (we compare here to complete weeks between both months because there are significant differences between weekdays and weekends).

When students go back to school mobile usage goes down

A few of weeks ago, we  saw there are considerable differences between countries regarding the importance of mobile usage. Getting back to work (or office hours) usually means an increase in desktop traffic. In that blog we highlighted the advantages that mobile devices brought to developing countries — many had their first contact with Continue reading

Sudan: seven days without Internet access (and counting)

Sudan: seven days without Internet access (and counting)
Sudan: seven days without Internet access (and counting)

It's not every day that there is no Internet access in an entire country. In the case of Sudan, it has been five days without Internet after political turmoil that started last Monday, October 25, 2021 (as we described).

The outage continues with almost a flat line and just a trickle of Internet traffic from Sudan. Cloudflare Radar shows that the Internet in Sudan is still almost completely cut off.

Sudan: seven days without Internet access (and counting)

There was a blip of traffic on Tuesday at ~14:00 UTC, for about one hour, but it flattened out again, and it continues like that — anyone can track the evolution on the Sudan page of Cloudflare Radar.

Sudan: seven days without Internet access (and counting)

Internet shutdowns are not that rare

Internet disruptions, including shutdowns and social media restrictions, are common occurrences in some countries and Sudan is one where this happens more frequently than most countries according to Human Rights Watch. In our June blog, we talked about Sudan when the country decided to shut down the Internet to prevent cheating in exams, but there were situations in the past more similar to this days-long shutdown — something that usually happens when there’s political unrest.

The country's longest recorded network disruption was back in Continue reading

Sudan woke up without Internet

Sudan woke up without Internet
Sudan woke up without Internet

Today, October 25, following political turmoil, Sudan woke up without Internet access.

In our June blog, we talked about Sudan when the country decided to shut down the Internet to prevent cheating in exams.

Now, the disruption seems to be for other reasons. AP is reporting that "military forces ... detained at least five senior Sudanese government figures.". This afternoon (UTC) several media outlets confirmed that Sudan's military dissolved the transitional government in a coup that shut down mobile phone networks and Internet access.

Cloudflare Radar allows anyone to track Internet traffic patterns around the world. The dedicated page for Sudan clearly shows that this Monday, when the country was waking up, the Internet traffic went down and continued that trend through the afternoon (16:00 local time, 14:00 UTC).

Sudan woke up without Internet

We dug in a little more on the HTTP traffic data. It usually starts increasing after 06:00 local time (04:00 UTC). But this Monday morning, traffic was flat, and the trend continued in the afternoon (there were no signs of the Internet coming back at 18:00 local time).

Sudan woke up without Internet

When comparing today with the last seven days' pattern, we see that today's drop is abrupt and unusual.

Sudan woke up without Internet

We can see Continue reading

Where is mobile traffic the most and least popular?

Where is mobile traffic the most and least popular?
Where is mobile traffic the most and least popular?

You’re having dinner, you look at the table next to and everyone is checking their phone, scrolling and browsing and interacting with that little (is getting bigger) piece of hardware that puts you in contact with friends, family, work and the giant public square of sorts that social media has become. That could happen in the car (hopefully with the passengers, never the driver), at home when you’re on the sofa, in bed or even when you’re commuting or just bored in line for the groceries.

Or perhaps you use your mobile phone as your only connection to the Internet. It might be your one means of communication and doing business. For many, the mobile Internet opened up access and opportunity that simply was not possible before.

Around the world the use of mobile Internet differs widely. In some countries mobile traffic dominates, in others desktop still reigns supreme.

Mobile Internet traffic has changed the way we relate to the online world — work (once, for some, done on desktop/laptop computers) is just one part of it — and Cloudflare Radar can help us get a better understanding of global Internet traffic but also access regional trends, and monitor emerging Continue reading

Increased interest in Spanish media after the La Palma volcanic eruption

Increased interest in Spanish media after the La Palma volcanic eruption

The Internet is a valuable source of knowledge but also a deeply interesting, interconnected, and complex place. And with Cloudflare Radar (our Internet trends and insights free tool for everyone — including journalists, like I was for several years) you get a sense of different trends in the collection of networks that form the Internet.

We saw that over the past week or so in Spain. Radar shows a clear increase in interest in Spanish media outlets (in comparison with the preceding days and Sundays) after the news of the eruption in La Palma (one of the Spanish Canary Islands) broke on Sunday, September 19.

That is particularly clear looking at El País, one of the most well known media outlets in the country. Using our Global Popularity Ranking Trend available on Radar, we can see that ElPais.com jumped several positions in our ranking of most popular domains after September 19. That change is clear in the last seven days, but especially in the last 30, putting El País near the top 3,000 most popular domains in the world.

Elpais.com

Increased interest in Spanish media after the La Palma volcanic eruption
The increase in El País’s popularity is clearly visible after Sunday, September 19, 2021

A similar trend is Continue reading