February 4, 2010, 12:00 AM

Peak holiday traffic caused web site problems for many shoppers, study says

33% of online holiday 2009 shoppers ran into bad web site experiences, causing many to shop at a different online retailer, Gomez says in a study. A separate report by AlertSite found strong holiday site performance at major retailers.

Lead Photo

Matthew Poepsel, Vice President, Performance Strategies, Gomez

33% of online holiday 2009 shoppers ran into bad web site experiences, including slowly loading pages and difficulty completing transactions, causing many to shop at a different online retailer, according to a study released this week from Gomez, the web performance technology and services division from Compuware Corp.

Site performance at major online retailers, however, was consistently strong throughout the holiday season, according to a separate study by web performance management company AlertSite. That study, which AlertSite launched as its first E-Commerce Holiday Web Performance Index of more than 20 major retail sites, found average home page availability at 98.9% and an average response time of 4.10 seconds.

The Gomez study, which was based on a survey of 1,500 online consumers from Dec. 16 to Dec. 22, found that 15% of holiday shoppers who reported web site problems considered those problems to be unacceptable, and that 20% aborted a problem web site for another site. The study was conducted for Gomez by Equation Research.

The Gomez study also found that 41% of online shoppers will tolerate only one or two bad online shopping related to site performance before abandoning a retailer’s e-commerce site.

“This survey confirms that consumers expect retail web sites to perform well for them, regardless of how many other shoppers are also visiting the site,” says Matt Poepsel, vice president, performance strategies, Gomez Division. “It’s also clear that when shoppers encounter web performance problems, their patience and loyalty run thin. Once a customer has left your site, chances are they are not going to give you a second chance.”

Roger Lopez, a web technology consultant at Gomez, will be speaking at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference, Feb. 15-17 in Orlando, FL, in a session entitled The risks and rewards of advanced design technologies.

In the AlertSite study, the e-commerce sites of seven retailer-Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Victoria’s Secret, Target Corp., Staples Inc., QVC Inc., Macy’s Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., were found to have 100% availability of their home pages through the holiday shopping season, from Nov. 26 through Dec. 31.

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