Blog Post

Shopping Sites Performance Monitoring 2011

We monitored the performance of the top 50 Internet Retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the most critical days of the shopping season.

According to ComsScore, Retail online spending for the entire November – December 2011 holiday season touched $37.2 Billion, an increase of 15% versus last year.

In a perfect world these numbers look great for the state of ecommerce, but we (and cyberspace) exist in a world governed by Murphy’s Law. Anything that could impair a website’s performance probably did. How much did downtime and availability to the end user hinder these results? Could retailers have sold more if their websites served content that was designed to behave optimally under all circumstances? These questions might never get an answer, but retailers can look at the data collected – and get their sites improved for the next big event.

At Catchpoint we monitored the performance and availability of the top 50 Internet Retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the most critical days of the shopping season.

We have compiled a full report based on the monitoring data from November 24 2011 from 00:00 to November 29 03:00 EDT period. We have listed key findings and reasons for why some sites succeeded while others struggled during this period. The report looks at various performance metrics from different perspectives and it provides all the charts utilized for the analysis.

The underperforming sites were complex, placed too much weight on their frond-end servers, failed to implement key web performance optimization (WPO) techniques, and were bloated with third party providers tags like ads. The sites that did extremely well achieved fast pages by adopting a lean webpage design for the holidays – keeping content light, optimized client side and backend code, made good use of CDNs, and had limited to none third party tags.

Synthetic Monitoring
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