Survey tracks Black Friday performance of online retailers

San Mateo, Calif. Online holiday shoppers experienced a mixed bag from a performance perspective on Black Friday, according to Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote Systems. Data from as almost all of the sites on Keynote’s online retail shopping index showed slowdowns on this very busy online shopping day, according to Keystone’s annual study tracking the speed and reliability of the nation’s most popular retail Web sites beginning Black Friday and continuing throughout the holiday shopping season.

Overall, most of the sites weathered the storm very well, but there were a few sites that crumbled under the pressure, according to Keystone.

“Overall the quality of the sites tracked on Black Friday improved this year over last, with fewer showing major outages and issues impacting a large number of users,” said Ben Rushlo, director of competitive research at Keynote. “The best performing sites overall were Wal-Mart, Sears and Barnes Noble. Each of these sites did very well during the Black Friday period (6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST).”

Overall, Wal-Mart was the most stable site, showing not a single error (100% availability for the day) and very little slowdown, according to Rushlo.

“Wal-Mart has struggled in the past with Black Friday traffic, but this year they got it right, offering their customers a consistently fast and reliable experience. Wal-Mart and the other good quality sites prove that with proper planning, load testing and focus it is possible to offer customers a pleasant online experience even when customer volume is the highest,” he noted.

Of the pure online sites, Newegg was very good as was, according to Keystone. Other pure online sites struggled.

Keynote noted more issues in the apparel vertical than in other verticals, which was consistent with its findings in years prior. The best site on Keynote’s apparel index was Victoria’s Secret, as it did not report a single error and virtually no slowdown during the critical Black Friday shopping period.

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