3 Key Findings from the Cyber Monday Web Performance Index
March 13, 2017

Sven Hammar
Apica

Share this

Online retailers stand to make a lot of money on Cyber Monday as long as their infrastructure can keep up with customers. If your company's site goes offline or substantially slows down, you're going to lose sales. And even top ecommerce sites experience performance or stability issues at peak loads, like Cyber Monday, according to Apica's Cyber Monday Web Performance Index.

The Cyber Monday Web Performance Index is built to gauge how well top sites in the market are performing. The purpose is to measure and rank the top-performing retail websites by examining elements like Document Object Model completion time, render time, minimum load time, and maximum load time. This year's index included the Internet Retailer Hot 100, which features a range of the most popular eCommerce sites on the Internet. Cyber Monday is, of course, an ideal day to test as these sites are pushed harder than at any other time of year, creating the right load testing conditions.

Key findings of the Cyber Monday Web Performance Index include:

1. Top 10 eCommerce Websites Are Healthy, But the Rest Are Lagging Behind

The top 10 rated websites are in excellent shape and only show cracks when the servers get overloaded with traffic. However, the servers are able to stay online and continue to function quickly enough to keep visitors on the site. Upwards of two-thirds of visitors will switch to a competitor's site if your company's site is too slow, so this factor is crucially important.

One study found top-rated sites like the Apple Store and Microsoft Store manage minimum load times (two seconds or less) under low-load conditions, but both experienced 10-second load times when visitors pushed the infrastructure under peak demand. Visitors may stick through modest increases, but they are likely to leave when load times explode to Keurig's 38-second, QVC's 131-second, and Avon's 147-second maximum load times.

2. Scaling and Stability Are a Major Issue Across the Industry

Hosting infrastructure that isn't built to scale can produce a very poor "stability" score, meaning there is a very substantial difference in the minimum and maximum load times. Even sites with optimized designs can crumble under demand if the infrastructure can't scale properly.

While the Apple Store's overall performance was fantastic, the site suffered a bit in stability metrics: 1.7-second load times fell to 10 seconds during the busiest periods. Costco's site scaled better, with consistent performance ranging between 1.8-2.9 seconds. Site operators can minimize load time increases with proper load testing and performance monitoring practices. The testing data helps businesses plan scaling infrastructure to grow with demand spikes, while avoiding cases where businesses overspend on more power than needed. 

3. Deception Through Progressive Page Loading Is the Key to Speed

Developers can work with the system by loading the page's basic functionalities as quickly as possible, and its auxiliary components afterward. This way, even if the page takes eight seconds to load, the visitor thinks it only took two.

Costco manages this well. The site's pages are very image-heavy, making it impossible to optimally compress the images and send them to a visitor's system in under three seconds. Instead, the page completes the DOM in just 2.1 seconds, allowing the user to start interacting with the page while the system loads off-screen content faster than the visitor can access it.

Read: 3 Ways to Improve Your Website for Cyber Monday

Sven Hammar is Chief Strategy Officer and Founder of Apica
Share this

The Latest

April 18, 2019

A vast majority of organizations are still unprepared to properly respond to cybersecurity incidents, with 77% of respondents indicating they do not have a cybersecurity incident response plan applied consistently across the enterprise, according to The 2019 Study on the Cyber Resilient Organization, a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of IBM ...

April 17, 2019

People and businesses today make mistakes similar to Troy, when they get too enamored by the latest, flashiest technology. These modern Trojan Horses work through their ability to "wow" us. Cybercriminals find IoT devices an easy target because they are the cool new technology on the block ...

April 16, 2019

Software security flaws cause the majority of product vulnerabilities, according to the 2019 Security Report from Ixia's Application and Threat Intelligence (ATI) Research Center ...

April 15, 2019

The majority of organizations (nearly 70 percent) do not prioritize the protection of the applications that their business depend on — such as ERP and CRM systems — any differently than how low-value data, applications or services are secured, according to a new survey from CyberArk ...

April 12, 2019

While 97 percent of organizations are currently undertaking or planning to undertake digital transformation initiatives, integration challenges are hindering efforts for 84 percent of organizations, according to the 2019 Connectivity Benchmark Report from MuleSoft ...

April 11, 2019

Companies have low visibility into their public cloud environments, and the tools and data supplied by cloud providers are insufficient, according to The State of Public Cloud Monitoring, a report sponsored by Ixia ...

April 10, 2019

Without improvement in time and budget constraints, the majority of tech pros (75 percent) say they will be unable to confidently manage future innovations, according to IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow, a new report from SolarWinds. This reality ultimately puts businesses at risk of performance and competitive advantage losses, making the prioritization of skills and career development for tech pros paramount ...

April 09, 2019

Tech pros have one foot grounded in today's hybrid IT realities while also setting their sights on emerging technology, according to IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow ...

April 08, 2019

This Thursday EMA will be presenting a webinar — Automation, AI and Analytics: Reinventing ITSM — covering recent research. There were quite a few surprises. And in fact, many of the surprises indicated a yet-more-positive outlook than we expected ...

April 05, 2019

Almost three-fourths (69 percent) of organizations have plans to deploy 5G by 2020, according to a new 5G use case and adoption survey by Gartner. Organizations expect 5G networks to be mainly used for IoT communications and video, with operational efficiency being the key driver ...