The online holiday shopping season starts in earnest this week. Our benchmark e-commerce sites have been picked out, our tests have been set up, now we’ll see how well eRetailers have heeded our advice and the lessons of the past.
We’ll be monitoring availability and performance for 50 sites. This includes top e-commerce pureplays like Amazon, Overstock, NewEgg, Groupon, Etsy, Wayfair and Jet along with the online storefronts of retailing giants like Target, Wal-Mart, Macy’s, JCPenney, Neiman Marcus, Best Buy, Staples, ToysRUs and more. We’ll monitor both desktop and mobile sites for these retailers. Mobile traffic was higher during the holiday shopping season last year though more than 2/3 of sales were still attributed to desktop shoppers, according to IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark.
We’ll monitor our benchmark sites for nine different metrics including:
We’ll be running our tests all this week as many sites have sales and deals the whole week long. But we’ll be focusing especially on Thanksgiving Night, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is typically the biggest online shopping day not only of the holiday season but the entire year. Last year, $2.04bn was spent online on Cyber Monday, according to Catchpoint customer ComScore. Black Friday was second at $1.5bn. However, Thanksgiving wasn’t far behind at just over $1bn and the Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend accounted for another $2.01bn in holiday spending. The ComScore numbers track online spending only from desktop computers.
Last year, we saw a marked increase in page size (downloaded bytes) for both mobile and desktop sites and a corresponding increase in download complete and webpage response times. Unless online retailers heed our advice to slim down their sites and get third-party tags under control we expect to see this trend continue this year. In which case, we hope e-tailers have a plan in place for when things go wrong.