We’ve used BuiltWith data (ecommerce platforms and technologies) and GTmetrix data (on load times and measured response rates) to compare the response and load times of retailers’ websites over the Black Friday period.
The graphic below lists the platforms in use by Top100 companies and the average full-page load time among Results from hourly testing over a 36-hour period, excluding ecommerce systems with fewer than three domains measured. Ecommerce technologies measured by BuiltWith.com and page load times by GTmetrix.com[/caption]
While queues outside a physical store in advance of a sale may serve to heighten anticipation of the event to come, browsing tends to be a solo activity and there’s little thrill in having to wait for a page to load in order to hunt for bargains. A rapidly-responding site allows the browser to focus upon the product rather than the site operation itself. As you can see in our post on the peak traffic times over Black Friday the shoppers have ‘windows of demand’ – pre-work, lunchtime, end of the work day and around 8.30pm. During that ‘shopping window’ an unresponsive site could cause shopper to look elsewhere for their bargains.
We looked at the HTML of sites that were slower than expected and found examples of references to staging servers in the code (being used for ‘just in case’ images, or ‘high demand on service’ notices). Such BlackFriday contingency planning is beneficial, yet has an overhead on page load if executed sub-optimally.
We will continue monitoring the performance of the Top100 sites throughout the year in order to put this snapshot into context, and provide a trend line for Black Friday 2016.
You may also be interested in Top100 websites: load times and downtime on Black Friday – click here
*Note on the methodology: every Top100 website was tested hourly over the 36-hours to midnight Black Friday. We used the GTmetrix api to test from a London-based server on a Chrome desktop browser. The testing does not take into account local caching or ISP caching, nor the customer’s willingness to wait. For more information on the site performance metrics used, see GTmetrix’ FAQ. For more information on how site technologies are measured, see Builtwith’s FAQ.