Posted By Jason Verge On December 3, 2013 @ 9:04 am In Downtime | No Comments
There were no major outages during the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, but several trends emerged. People are shopping earlier and increasingly using mobile devices for their purchases.
A lack of page optimization across three screens, as well as slowdowns during particular parts of the transaction process were the major problems with some retail sites, according to monitoring firms Keynote and Compuware APM.
There were some performance hits on Thanksgiving night. Retail sites were, for the most part, prepared for the rush on Black Friday going into Cyber Monday. According to Keynote, Cyber Monday was when some retail sites began to see some hiccups. Sites were experiencing hiccups on specific devices, suggesting that they weren’t optimized for three screens: mobile, tablet and desktop
The big performance hit, according to Compuware APM, was with mobile devices. While web pages were optimized, many retailers weren’t as prepared to deal with spikes in mobile traffic.
“With traffic spiking early on Black Friday and again around 8:00 pm, the average page response times remained around 8 seconds,” said says Steven Dykstra of Compuware APM’s Benchmarks Division. “Our data shows that an average page response time over 6 seconds increase page abandonment rate from 12% to over 20%, which will significantly impact many retailers revenue this holiday season.”
Retailers were, for the most part, ready for Black Friday traffic. The only notable outage was Sears, according to Keynote. The Sears site returned a message stating it is too busy on the desktop and iPad. The outage started around 1:15 PM EST.
Site performance actually improved compared to the week leading up. According to Keynote:
There were no major outages, apart from Sears. There were some mild performance impacts:
Compuware APM noted huge increases in mobile device (tablet and smart phone) traffic beginning on Thanksgiving and continuing into Cyber Monday. During Black Friday, iPad traffic was up as much as 90 percent compared to last year (during 6:00-12:00pm ET). During that same time frame, iPhone traffic was up 117 percent respectively from Thanksgiving. iPad traffic outpaced iPhone 72 percent to 28 percent. From Keynote and Compuware APM’s data, we can assume that it was tablet traffic, and lack of tablet specific-optimization that caused a good portion of performance hits.
Given the increasing comfort with shopping on mobile devices and the busy shopping season starting earlier and earlier, is Cyber Monday becoming less of a big deal? “One theory is that it’s becoming a bit more irrelevant,” said Dykstra. “People used to hop on their work PCs on Monday – now it’s not necessarily the case. There’s bigger acceptance, as people have had experiences with mobile shopping, That anxiety of giving information over the web is dissipating.”
While online shopping is becoming less confined to Cyber Monday, and less confined to the desktop, it’s not a case of Cyber Monday disappearing. The traffic reports suggest that online shopping is spreading over the course of the holiday. Taking Thursday-Monday into account, the amount of online shopping traffic that occurs each year is growing. As to the actual shopping figures, the same might not be true, as some are reporting a drop off. From a traffic perspective, better optimization across devices is needed on the part of major retailers, and traffic spikes are occurring earlier than years prior, beginning on Thanksgiving itself.
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 Jason Verge: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/author/jasonv/
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