Visitor Monitoring Retailers Zip Through Black Friday | Keynote

Retailers Zip Through Black Friday

By Aaron Rudger | November 26, 2012

CATEGORIES: Web Performance

U.S. online retailers once again set record sales for the long Thanksgiving weekend and we’re already receiving reports that today—Cyber Monday—is setting up to be massive as well. Looking at the performance of major e-commerce sites reveals that most sites were well prepared for the heavy traffic and transactions of the past four days.

The average Total User Experience Time across the Keynote Top Retailers index was 2.77 seconds and Time to Interactive Page coming in at 2.27 seconds. Average Time to First Paint—the point at which a new user first sees content in their browser—clocked in at 789 milliseconds.


While retailers across the board should improve their initial impression with first-time customers (250 milliseconds is recommended best practice), most home pages were complete or perceptibly usable within the recommended tolerance of 3 seconds.

A few retailers, however, did experience some performance issues. Keynote’s Retail Apparel transaction index showed that starting at 8:05 a.m. PT on Black Friday until 8:40 a.m., the Foot Locker site struggled with internal server errors. Transactions during this period could not be successfully completed. You may have been able to get to the home page, but performing an item search or adding it to the shopping cart would not have worked.

But while Foot Locker’s site may not have been completely prepared for the onslaught of Black Friday traffic, most of the other 47 sites in the Top Retailers index experienced no major outages during the weekend. The number of Black Friday shoppers grew 18% over last year and the preparations of online retailers appear to have paid off—to the tune of a more than $1 billion!


Keynote’s monitoring of retail mobile sites also showed that most sites performed consistently through Black Friday. As with the desktop, these sites optimized for smartphones and tablets delivered comparable performance to non-peak periods. However as we had previously reported, the performance of most retail sites on smartphones across major U.S. cellular carriers was generally slow, relative to user expectations. Our Mobile Commerce Index results for the week will be published shortly in Internet Retailer with more detail.

We’ll wrap up our online retailer performance analysis for Cyber Monday tomorrow.

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