December 2, 2004, 12:00 AM

Thanksgiving surge cuts site response times 5% from prior week, Gomez says

Although most of the 26 major retail sites in the Gomez Holiday E-Tail Performance Index performed well despite frequent spikes in traffic, problems at a few sites pulled down overall response times by 5% from the prior week, Gomez reports.

Although most of the 26 major retail sites in the Gomez Holiday E-Tail Performance Index performed well despite frequent spikes in traffic, problems at a few sites pulled down overall response times by 5% from the prior week, Gomez, a provider of site performance monitoring services, reports.

“Retail sites performed consistently throughout the Black Friday weekend,” Gomez says. “A handful of sites struggled to keep pace with the seasonal surge in online shopping, which pulled down response time benchmark averages across all categories.”

The Gomez index benchmarks web site application performance for 26 leading online retailers, including Amazon, BestBuy.com, JCPenney.com, Overstock.com, Sears.com and Walmart.com. It compares the application speed and download success rate of each retailer, measured from 10 Internet backbone nodes and from the “last mile” of bandwidth into computers.

For Thanksgiving week, Nov. 22 through the morning of Nov. 29, overall application response times for the 26 retailers fell 5% from the prior week as measured from Internet backbone nodes; they fell 2% as measured in the last mile to computers.

The success rates of downloading applications declined 2% from the prior week as measured from the Internet backbone nodes; there was no change as measured for the last mile.

Gomez notes that computers and electronics sites demonstrated the fastest overall response times of all benchmarked retailers. Apparel sites performed well during initial steps, such as searching for and examining products, but slowed down on subsequent steps of the online shopping experience.

"Retailers for the most part were well prepared for the shopping spike that accompanied the holiday weekend," said David Flinn, Gomez`s director of performance excellence. "Retailers that treat Internet performance strategically, by deploying process discipline to maximize their investments in automated tools, will reap the best returns in the make-or-break holiday shopping season."

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