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 and Cyber Monday, two of the busiest online shopping days of the year. Media interested in receiving a Keynote briefing and/or Keynote reports over the holiday season on online retail Web site performance should email Dan Cahill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re seeing two over-arching trends so far this holiday season,” said Shawn White, director of external operations for Keynote. “First, is that there appear to be significant slow-downs on a number of leading retail Web sites, with traditional brick and mortar retailers faring the worst. Second, is the fact that the slow downs are impacting at the crucial product search and check-out portions of their shopping process.”
Keynote reported that one-third of the thirty (30) sites it monitors for its holiday retail index showed significant slow-downs on Black Friday (November 23rd) and Cyber Monday (November 26th) as a result of increased online shopping for the holidays. Keynote’s reporting is based on The Keynote Retail Performance Indices, transaction performance indices comprised of leading online shopping sites across three retail categories: apparel, electronics and books & music. The Keynote Retail Transaction Performance Indices measure and benchmark the performance for a standard online shopping transaction for 30 leading retail 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.
Slowest Going on Search, Check-Out Processes
Keynote noted that most of the performance issues are not in the initial phases of an online shopping experience, such as homepage download or browsing, but are typically being seen in the crucial phases of product search and information and check-out. On a number of leading retail sites, consumers are seeing check-out page transactions taking up to 2 minutes to process even on high-speed connections, a noticeable slow down to consumers used to a one or two second transaction speed.
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.
“Online consumers with high-speed access at their home or office expect instant page downloads and transactions, and a two-minute slow down in product search or shopping cart functions leads to increased levels of site abandonment,” said White.
Traditional Brick and Mortars Seem Weighed Down
Keynote said most of the sites having problems are traditional brick and mortar retailers who have invested in their Web presence relatively recently, such as Costco and Lowe’s, as compared to companies with an online history such as Dell and Overstock.com. Keynote noted that Buy.com, Eddie Bauer, Costco, Lowe’s and Toys R Us were among those sites having notable slow-downs. Keynote said that Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Dell and Overstock.com were sites performing very well despite the high holiday traffic. Online traffic to retail sites is reportedly up more than 10% early this season.
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.
Toys R Us experienced significant performance slowdowns by as much as 300% with average page download times exceeding 30 to 60 seconds from approximately 1:00 PM to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Cyber Monday. The slowdowns affected both the home page and the customer’s shopping experience, with product search and adding items to the shopping cart hardest hit. J Crew saw similar transaction slow-downs with times for its average transaction increasing over 400%.
Costco experienced significant performance slowdowns by as much as 500% to log on to the site from approximately 10:00 a.m. Eastern to 4:00 p.m. Eastern on Cyber Monday, to add items to the shopping cart and to complete a purchase. Download times for a transaction averaged as high as 115 seconds [per page], as compared to an average of 20 seconds outside of the holiday period.
Buy.com saw significant issues with its “Check Out” button on Cyber Monday, after seeing isolated problems with its product search process on Black Friday.
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.