Cyber Week’s Web Performance Champions
By Aaron Rudger | December 9, 2013
"Black Friday" originated in Philadelphia in the 60’s as city workers prepared roads for the onslaught of holiday shopping traffic. The term grew to become synonymous with holiday promotions and deeply discounted sales, and savvy shoppers in recent years have turned to the Internet to research and plan their day. Retailers also realized that the Internet had potential as a low cost means to extend the shopping frenzy. Cyber Monday evolved and has now morphed into Cyber Week. Retailers have also turned to mobile technology as its usage has exploded for the extended sales season. Smartphones and tablets are proving to be popular tools in promoting hot deals and staying in touch with the connected consumer. Mobile accounted for a whopping 17% of all online sales on Cyber Monday.
This holiday season, Keynote is bringing traffic back to forefront of the retail shopping story. Not the street traffic that inspired the term Black Friday, but website traffic by monitoring the websites of leading retailers during Cyber Week. To reflect the new reality, we also monitored the sites for their experience over the desktop, smartphones and tablets. Finally, we monitored an entire user transaction—a journey from the home page, to search, selection… all of the way to the shopping cart. In this short sales season, website performance may be the difference in who gets presents and who ends up with coal.
Sample of retailers in study:
- Apple Store
- Best Buy
- Office Depot
- Office Max
- Sony Style
What we found…
The Nice List
The Apple Store came out on top, delivering the goods over Cyber Week. On average, Apple’s desktop visitors needed only 5.8 seconds to complete a transaction. That’s twice as fast as the HP and Best Buy desktop sites which came in second and third respectively. Apple’s desktop site also led all others by successfully completing a transaction 99.88% of the time during Cyber Week, joining HP, Best Buy, Amazon and Overstock in delivering two 9’s (90% success or better) on this critical up-time measurement.
Apple also led with tablet speed (42.8 sec.) and success rate (96.22%). Apple would have made a clean sweep if it delivered a better smartphone experience, with just average success (95.58%) and below average speed (41.5 sec.).
The HP website performed pretty well, with good desktop and smartphone speed and transaction success. However its tablet site experience ended up on the bottom of our list, failing more than half of the time (49.73% success).
Amazon also had a nice week across our three screens. It placed above average in all categories with a good showing in terms of site availability. Its smartphone website led all others with 97.54% availability and joined Overstock, Apple and Office Depot as the only sites that were available greater than 90% across all three screens.
The Naughty List
Sony Style certainly did not behave well over Cyber Week. In terms of speed and reliability its site was at the bottom across all three screens except for smartphone speed where the measurements that went through did so quickly. The desktop transaction was second slowest and 78.08% availability means that one in five transactions couldn’t complete. Performance fail.
Newegg didn’t show well either. Its 26.5 second desktop transaction was the slowest, only saved by good availability (99.40%). Unfortunately its smartphone and tablet users were treated to below average availability and slow response times.