December 29, 2010, 3:56 PM

Target improves its mobile aim while Sunglass Hut is overshadowed in mobile performance

And Walmart.com moves up three spots to rank first in mobile site performance.

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Target’s m-commerce site rose five places to number eight in this week’s Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index , which measures the load time and success rate of 15 representative mobile commerce sites.

That shift made Target one of the most improved performers compared to last week. Meanwhile Sunglass Hut, which was in first place last week, dropped five places to number six. The top retailer for mobile site performance was Walmart.com, rising three spots from fourth place last week.

For the week ending Dec. 24, the m-commerce site home page of Walmart.com loaded on average in 3.69 seconds, doing so successfully 99.30% of the time, for an index score of 920 out of 1,000. StrandBooks.com’s mobile home page loaded in 2.42 seconds with a success rate of 98.23% for a score of 806. And Dell’s mobile home page loaded in 4.36 seconds, doing so successfully 98.84% of the time for a score of 795. That helped it secure the No. 3 spot.

The index average score was 611, with an average load time of 5.44 seconds and success rate of 98.20%. Click here and select Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index to see complete results for all of the index’s 15 merchants for the week ending Dec 24.

“After a strong showing in the early rush of the holiday shopping season, some online retailers slid slightly in the last push of the major shopping rush” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at Keynote Systems. “This week, more than one of the sites had availability numbers fall below 97%. Performance was also down slightly across the board, with average page load times three tenths of a second slower.”

Walmart.com however, was an exception, Ng says. “One standout this week was Walmart.com, which not only had the best performance index score, but also had the highest overall availability for the week,” he says. “Both were significant improvements over the previous week, at a time that couldn’t be more meaningful for online retailers.”

Keynote Systems measures the 15 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in various categories and channels, and of various sizes, ranging from such giants as Sears and Foot Locker to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut and K&L Wine Merchants.

Keynote repeatedly tests the sites in the index Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating three different smartphones on three different wireless networks: the iPhone on AT&T, the BlackBerry Curve on Sprint and the Droid (which uses the Android operating system) on Verizon. Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. Given both performance and availability are important, the score reflects the overall quality of the home page. A higher score indicates better performance; scores also reflect how close sites are to each other in overall quality. The index’s average score is the midpoint among all the sites’ scores.

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