With Christmas just a week away, businesses are not daring to touch their mobile sites.

“Companies most likely have their holiday sites in place and just aren’t making many or significant changes at this point until perhaps post-Christmas specials,” says Peter Kacandes, senior product marketing manager, mobile, web and synthetics, for AppDynamics.

The pre-holiday mobile site freeze showed up in this week’s AppDynamics/Mobile Strategies 360 performance index, which tracks the site speed and general performance of 30 mobile sites on 3G and 4G networks.

On 3G, the top 14 sites remained in their exact same positions as the previous week. Many of the index’s averages, such as the time it took for the mobile site to start drawing the elements on the home page, also remained the same from last week to this week.

Even on the bottom half of the index, companies only shuffled around a little bit. For example, apparel retailer JCrew.com moved up one spot on the 3G index to No. 15 from No. 16, because of a one-second improvement in the time required for the site to finish drawing the elements on the home page, or the visually complete time, to 10.4 seconds from 11.5 seconds. Medical center Cleveland Clinic’s mobile site, however, fell two spots to No. 17 from No. 15 because of a one second increase in its visually complete time to 18.4 seconds from 17.5 seconds. Cleveland Clinic did not respond to a request for comment.

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While these two companies made minor shifts, this allowed Toys “R” Us Inc. to move up one spot, to No. 16 from No. 17, even though its numbers were essentially unchanged, Kacandes says.

The exclusive AppDynamics/Mobile Strategies 360 Index tracks key mobile site metrics across a range of sites to calculate a weekly average Speed Score on both 3G and 4G mobile carrier networks. The index represents a snapshot of mobile site performance across industries, including retailers such as HSN.com, insurance companies such as NorthwesternMutual.com and restaurants such as McDonalds.com.

AppDynamics each week measures performance metrics of both 3G and 4G networks for each of the 30 sites in the index to determine each site’s Speed Score.

They include:

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First render: The time, (in seconds) it takes until the web browser starts drawing the visual elements of a home page.

Visually complete: The time (in seconds) it takes until the web browser has completed drawing the visual elements of a home page.

Number of elements loaded: The number of resources loaded by a home page.

Complete load: The size of the home page when all data is loaded (in megabytes).

Using these metrics, the index calculates the Speed Score. The Speed Score is a ratio that rewards businesses for displaying more visual content on the mobile home page earlier rather than later. The earlier a mobile site home page looks complete to a consumer, the better the mobile experience for the visitor, even if a few remaining elements are displayed later. A site with a higher ratio of content displayed earlier will have a better Speed Score than a site with the same visually complete time but a longer first render time.

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For example, site A may have a visually complete home page load time of three seconds, loading 90% of its content in the first second and the remaining 10% in seconds two and three. Site B may have the same three-second visually complete time, but present zero content in the first two seconds and 100% in the third second. The sites have identical visually complete times, but Site A will be perceived as much faster, and will earn a better Speed Score as a result.

The index displays the average across the 30 mobile sites for each metric as well as the average Speed Score on both 3G and 4G networks for each mobile site.

For the week ended Dec. 20, the average Speed Score for 3G was 9.5 seconds the same as the previous week. The average first render was 6.6 seconds, also the same as a week earlier.

Visually complete average was 15.3 seconds compared to14.7 seconds compared to the previous week. Average number of elements loaded was 99.7 compared with 98.3 a week earlier. Average home page weight was 1.5 megabytes, the same as the previous week.

On 4G, the average Speed Score was 5.6 seconds, the same as the previous week. The average first render was 3.9 seconds, the same as the previous week.

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Visually complete average time was 9 seconds, the same as the previous week. Average number of elements loaded was 99.8 versus 98.3 versus a week earlier. And average home page weight was 1.6 megabytes the same as the previous week.

The index is accompanied by a chart on MobileStrategies360.com that is refreshed weekly to illustrate how each mobile site performs as well as index averages. Click here to access the performance chart for the week ending Dec. 20, 2015.

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