Blog Post

Toys R Us Did Holiday Shopping (Mostly) Right

Toys R Us managed to make it through Black Friday without any major performance issues. See exactly what happened here.

Toys R Us is no Black Friday rookie; the major retailer and their current hosting and CDN providers have completed 11 holiday seasons now. Between following some best practices, using static HTML strategically, and running on a high-capacity stack, they’ve pretty much got the online holiday process down.

This year, Toys R Us made it through another Black Friday without much interruption–the breakdown of their experience is below.


This is defined as the time it took from the request being issued to the primary host server responding with the last Byte of the primary URL. Toys R Us served up their index.jsp objects in under ¾ of a second on average.


Webpage Response

This is the time it took from the request being issued to receiving the last Byte of the final element on the page. Here, Toys R Us altered their homepage which had an obviously negative impact. The rest of the checkout pages remained relatively flat, however.


Document Complete

Document complete Indicates that the browser has finished rendering the page and fired the onload event, making the page interactive. Notice there is no lift for the homepage, it stays flat and even just like the rest of the checkout pages. Customers could interact with these pages in under 3 seconds on average!


# Items (Total)

The total number of objects included on the webpage. Ah, this is why the webpage response shot up. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Toys R Us added ~40 more objects to their homepage. When it comes to performance, more objects means more bytes to download, which translates directly to more time to download. Fortunately, they placed these additional objects after document complete to minimize customer impact.


% Availability

The percentage of time that the page was available; i.e., it did not fail. In the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday, Toys R Us had a little hiccup.


Their homepage could not be found:


After this and a one-off mini cart glitch later that afternoon on Black Friday, Toys R Us had smooth sailing right on through Cyber Monday.

The overall evaluation of Toys R Us’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday performance: not bad Toys R Us, not bad at all.

Web Experience
SLA Management

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