December 12, 2013, 11:54 AM

Mobile commerce sites take longer to load during ‘Cyber Week’

Heavy Internet traffic slows all but two retailers on the Internet Retailer-exclusive Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. Page loads averaged 9.75 seconds, versus 8.63 seconds the week before.

Lead Photo

The chain retailer's m-commerce site home page loaded on average in 8.25 seconds, Keynote says.

Smartphones accounted for 19.7% of all retail web traffic and tablets 11.5% on Dec. 2, Cyber Monday 2013, according to analytics data from IBM Corp. It was a busy day for mobile commerce that extended throughout what some now call Cyber Week (Dec. 2-6 this year), says mobile and web performance management firm Keynote. The heavy web and mobile traffic last week took its toll on the performance of m-commerce web sites, slowing page load times and reducing site availability, according to the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending Dec. 8.

The average load times for the m-commerce site home pages of all but two of the merchants on the 30-retailer index increased by one to two seconds last week, Keynote says. What’s more, the success rates, also known as site availability, decreased, typically by less than 1%, for all but five of the retailers on the index. Keynote says unusually heavy traffic on the Internet last week was responsible for the slower page loads and occasional timeout errors—where a web page simply fails to complete loading. Those timeout errors were responsible for the lower success rates.

“Several of the retailers on the index made rather significant site changes last week, and these retailers were among the ones with either better page load or better site availability numbers,” says Keynote web and mobile performance expert Joe Flake. “The Home Depot, for example, followed our standing suggestion and cut its page element count by 17. As a result, they moved up 17 places on the index to No. 5.”

The Home Depot’s m-commerce site home page loaded on average in 8.25 seconds; its success rate was 99.74%, according to the index. Weighting and then combining load time and success rate earned the retailer an index score of 815 out of 1,000. The mobile home page included 28 page elements, such as images or scripts, and weighed 264 kilobytes. Keynote advises retailers wanting optimal performance to limit mobile page elements to 10 or 12 and limit page weight to 100 kilobytes or less.

The Home Depot declined to comment. Shopping topped the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index with a load time of 4.34 seconds, a success rate of 99.87%, a score of 974, a page element count of 11 and a page weight of 86 kilobytes. Sears Holdings Corp. came in second with a load time of 3.83 seconds, a success rate of 99.74%, a score of 964, a page element count of 7 and a page weight of 61 kilobytes. And LLC came in third with a load time of 3.45 seconds, a success rate of 99.62%, a score of 944, a page element count of 7 and a page weight of 63 kilobytes.

The average load time for all 30 retailers on the index was 9.75 seconds, 13% slower than the average of 8.63 seconds the week before. The average success rate last week was 99.19%, the average score was 679, the average page element count was 28 and the average page weight was 261 kilobytes.

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

Keynote measures 30 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in multiple categories and channels, and of multiple sizes, ranging from such giants as Inc. to mid-sized retailers like LLC. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating two different smartphones on two different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5 on AT&T and the Samsung Galaxy SIII on T-Mobile, both using 4G networks. Keynote runs the tests in New York and San Francisco.

Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. Given that 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. To consistently rank high on the Keynote index, sites must hit availability targets of 99.5% or better and be faster than 10 seconds to load on average. Top-performing sites load in under five seconds.

While adoption among U.S. consumers has been steadily rising, only a fraction of all U.S. wireless connections are 4G. Consequently, retailers benchmarking their mobile commerce site performance against the Keynote index should keep in mind that most of their m-commerce site shoppers will experience page load times slower than those on the index.

comments powered by Disqus



From The IR Blog


Anna Johansson / E-Commerce

Why is social proof big for niche brands?

A small online retailer that lacks brand recognition can get a big boost from high ...


Donn Davis / E-Commerce

Technology takeover: The fashion industry is next

We are now entering the third decade of the Amazon effect, and it is just ...


Research Guides