August 17, 2011, 5:20 PM

Top 25 retailers’ mobile response times drop a smidge, but otherwise all is steady

This week’s Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance index tells a familiar story.

Lead Photo

The merchant topped this week's index, its m-commerce site home page downloading on average in 6.11 seconds.

No one shot up, no one plummeted, no one suffered a severe outage. It was steady as she goes this week on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

This week’s results didn’t change much from last week. Though of note is the fact that with one exception all of the retailers in the top 25 of 30 merchants suffered a minor increase in load time—the amount of time it takes to completely and successfully download a mobile web page. The load times for the 24 sites increased from a few milliseconds to 1.5 seconds compared with the previous week’s times.

Because the increases were so slight, it is difficult to pinpoint any problems; however, several of the sites experienced slight lags caused by what in performance terms is caused outliers, elements tacked on to a site that make web server calls during the load process. An example is an analytics tag added to a page to enable tracking of visitors on a site.

“Several sites on the index had their response times pulled upwards by outliers showing an analytics call with longer than usual response,” says Joe Flake, mobile performance expert at Keynote Systems Inc. “Third-party server calls—including advertisers or web tools—that a site can’t directly control are frustrating, and worthy of watching just as closely as the components directly hosted.”

Walgreen Co. topped this week’s index with a load time of 6.11 seconds and a success rate—the percentage of the time a site successfully downloads a page—of 99.48% for a score of 970 out of 1,000. Dell Inc. came in second with a load time of 4.95 seconds and a success rate of 98.87% for a score of 960. And Lowe’s Cos. Inc. came in third with a load time of 6.89 seconds and a success rate of 99.08% for a score of 924.

The average load time for all 30 retailers on the index was 9.49 seconds, the average success rate was 97.93% and the average score was 783.

Click here and then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index Part 1 and Part 2 to see this week’s complete results for all 30 retailers on the index.

Keynote Systems measures 30 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 Amazon.com Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut, Toolfetch.com LLC and Your Electronic Warehouse. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating four different smartphones on four different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 on AT&T, the HTC Evo on Sprint, the BlackBerry Curve on T-Mobile and the Droid X on Verizon. The HTC Evo and the Droid X run Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

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 average score is the midpoint among all the sites’ scores.

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