Retailers might have started offering online holiday discounts earlier than in years past, but that didn’t seem to have much effect on retail activity or sales this Cyber Monday. According to IBM, Internet sales rose 30.3 percent yesterday, making it the biggest online shopping day ever.
Online traffic for the day has not yet been reported, but the exact number of web shoppers isn’t really that important, at least as far as website performance is concerned. That’s because, with only minor exceptions, the top online retailers continued to deliver the consistent availability and quick response times that we reported during Thanksgiving weekend.
Two retailers were able to retain the near-instantaneous response times of the previous four days. Liberty Media Corp and Systemax delivered average response times of 0.51 seconds and 0.92 seconds, respectively. Several others, including Apple, Avon, Dell, J.C. Penney, Sears, and Symantec, displayed response times between one and two seconds.
Urban Outfitters, Office Depot, Barnes and Noble, and Toys R Us continued to lag in response times. The first three retailers’ websites experienced slight page load delays in the six second range, but the average response time for ToysRUs.com was more than double at 14.38 seconds. However, it is important to note that all of these retailers maintained strong availability throughout the day, so the high response times might not have negatively impacted the user experience.
Two retailers experienced minor web performance issues yesterday. Home Depot experienced a few isolated spikes in response time, which brought the average website speed for the day to 6.23 seconds. As is often the case, these delays seem to be linked to third party content, videos, and analytics.
In all our monitoring, there was only one website that experienced a fail: L.L.Bean. The site went unavailable between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST. Due to the brevity of the issue, which can be categorized as “waiting for data,” as well as the site’s overall strong optimization, we can infer that the fatal error was likely the result of a traffic jam.
Here are the full results of our Cyber Monday web performance monitoring. Based on the solid performance, it seems that retailers heeded our advice and prepared and tested their websites in advance for the heavy onslaught of online shoppers.