Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote (Nasdaq:KEYN), today provided an update on the technical performance (responsiveness and reliability) of leading retail Web sites over the course of Black Friday, one of the busiest online (and offline) shopping days of the year, and the results were mixed for online retailers. Media interested in receiving Keynote reports over the holiday season on online retail Web site performance should email Dan Berkowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan Cahill at email@example.com.
“Our monitoring of retail site performance has shown a definite slow-down in site performance over the course of Black Friday for many leading sites,” said Shawn White, director of external operations for Keynote. “Almost a third of the thirty leading retail sites we monitor for our holiday shopping index experienced significant slow-downs that impacted the product search and check-out processes – and presumably will impact online sales.”
Online shopping will represent about $30 billion in sales this holiday season, according to eMarketer, and about 30% of all holiday shopping will be done online this year, up strongly over last year, according to the National Retail Federation and its Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.
“Consumers are increasingly turning to the Web for their holiday shopping, and thus the success of a retailer’s holiday season is increasingly tied to their site’s performance,” said White.
Keynote reported that one-third of the thirty (30) sites it monitors for its holiday retail index showed significant slow-downs as a result of the increased Black Friday traffic. Keynote’s reporting is based on The Keynote Retail Performance Indicies, transaction performance indices comprised of leading online shopping sites across three retail categories: apparel, electronics and books & music. The Keynote Retail Transaction Performance Indicies measure and benchmark the performance for a standard online shopping transaction for 30 leading retail sites, including the product search, shopping cart, and check out process performances on those sites. The data used in Keynote’s indices is collected in real time on an hourly basis from 10 major cities across the U.S., providing an up-to-the-minute barometer of online consumer experience during the holiday shopping season.
“All sites are experiencing some slow-down, which is natural given the increased number of online shoppers today. The average site’s slow-down is almost imperceptible to the consumer with high-speed access. However, those sites that experience significant slow-down usually will have problems with their product search, product information and check-out processes. We saw close to a dozen sites with such problems today.”
Keynote experts note that 5% to 10% slow-downs in traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are common, and likely will not impact the consumer’s online experience or check-out and sales. The worst performing sites on Black Friday were showing up to a 400% slow down, which Keynote experts caution will lead to consumers abandoning a product search or check-out. Keynote said its monitoring showed that well-known brands such as Buy.com and Lowes experienced significant slow downs that impacted their product search and check-out processes.
Keynote recorded slow-downs and some retail site problems beginning at 9:00 AM Eastern Time on Friday and expected to continue through 10:00 PM Eastern, peak Internet usage times when consumers from coast to coast are accessing retail Web sites. Monday (November 26th), known as Cyber Monday, is also expected to be a busy online shopping period as many consumers go back to work or routines and shop from the convenience of their home or office.
In a positive note, Keynote reported that none of the leading sites it monitors appeared to go completely dark on Friday, whereas several leading sites experienced periods with complete outages last holiday season.
“Online traffic and online shopping continue to grow, continue to grow as part of consumer habit,” said White. “And retailers are responding by planning in advance for the online holiday shopping season, building site capacity and testing load and performance months and months before the season. That’s paid off for most retailers, but a surprising number still have a ways to go,” said White.
Keynote’s retail index data is collected using Transaction Perspective® 8.0, Keynote’s market–leading Web site performance measurement and monitoring service. Further information on the Keynote Retail Performance Indices is available online at: http://www.keynote.com/keynote_competitive_research/performance_indice s/retail/retail_index.html (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)
Retail Web Sites Included in the Keynote Retail Performance Indices
Apparel sites on Keynote’s indices include: Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF); Banana Republic (NYSE: GPS), Eddie Bauer (Nasdaq: EBHI); Foot Locker (NYSE: FL); Gap (NYSE: GPS); JC Penney (NYSE: JCP); JCrew; Macy’s (Federated Department Stores, NYSE: FD); Neiman Marcus; Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN); Saks Fifth Avenue (NYSE: SKS); Sears (Nasdaq: SHLD); and Zappos.
Books and music sites on Keynote’s indices include: AbeBooks.com; Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN); Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS); Borders (NYSE: BGP); Buy.com; Overstock.com (Nasdaq: OSTK); Target (NYSE: TGT); Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT).
Retail electronics sites on Keynote’s indices include: Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN); Best Buy (NYSE: BBY); Buy.com; CDW (Nasdaq: CDWC); Circuit City (NYSE: CC); Dell (Nasdaq: DELL); Office Depot (NYSE: ODP); OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX); Overstock.com (Nasdaq: OSTK); Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS); Toys R Us (NYSE: XKE); Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT).
Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN) is the global leader in on-demand test & measurement solutions for continuously improving the online experience. As an independent and trusted third-party, Keynote provides IT and marketing executives with an unbiased view into their Internet services from around the world. For over a decade, Keynote has been providing measurement data and testing capabilities that allow companies to understand and improve their customers’ online and mobile experience. Keynote has four test and measurement businesses: Web performance, mobile quality, streaming & VoIP, and customer experience/UX. In addition, Keynote’s industry analysis group called Keynote Competitive Research publishes proprietary studies measuring customer experience and service levels across a wide range of industries.
Known as The Mobile and Internet Performance Authority™, Keynote has a market-leading infrastructure of 2,400 measurement computers and mobile devices in over 240 locations around the world. Keynote also maintains one of the most representative panels of online users consisting of 160,000 consumers. Keynote’s on-demand, hassle-free infrastructure allows businesses to access services they need, when they need them to pinpoint and fix mobile quality and Internet problems before they impact customers.
Keynote helps over 2,700 corporate customers become “the best of the best” by helping them improve online business performance and mobile communications quality. Keynote’s customers represent top Internet and mobile companies including American Express, BP, Caterpillar, Dell, Disney, eBay, ESPN Mobile, E*TRADE, Expedia, FedEx, Microsoft, SonyEricsson, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Vodafone.
Keynote Systems, Inc. is headquartered in San Mateo, California and can be reached at www.keynote.com or by phone in the U.S. at (650) 403-2400.
Keynote, The Internet Performance Authority and Perspective are registered trademarks and The Mobile and Internet Performance Authority and True Experience are trademarks of Keynote Systems, Inc. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2007 Keynote Systems, Inc.