A trend toward earlier shopping on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend put stress on retail sites while the turkey was still on the table in many homes. However, it seems that most online retailers were prepared for the onslaught.
According to digital performance analytics company Catchpoint Systems Inc., nearly all of the retail sites it tracks were available 100% of the time since 12 a.m. Thursday. The average load time across desktop and mobile stayed under 4 seconds throughout Thanksgiving and Black Friday morning.
However, a couple of big apparel retailers saw slowdowns or blackouts. The website for Gap Inc., No. 24 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500 Guide, took as long as 30 seconds to load midday yesterday, according to Catchpoint, but a Gap spokesperson said the site maintained normal operation. Catchpoint says a Snapchat integration was the cause of the slowdown. It was back to Catchpoint’s expected speeds by 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.
H&M (No. 409) saw more serious outages. The site went down between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Eastern, followed by another outage around 4:30 a.m. on Black Friday and intermittent downtime after that. By 8:30 a.m., the retailer appeared to have solved the issue.
“Last year, we did not detect any performance issues on Thanksgiving Day specifically” says Catchpoint CEO Mehdi Daoudi. “So compared to last year, this year we are seeing performance issues arising earlier.”
Adobe reported that online Thanksgiving sales were up 18.3% year-over-year, hitting $2.87 billion during the holiday.
On Black Friday morning, Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (No. 25) began having intermittent problems on both desktop and mobile, telling visitors that the site would be back up in an hour. The outage was partial, meaning only certain locations were seeing the error page.
Other e-retailers maintained fast load times according to Catchpoint. Walgreens (No. 39) managed a median 1 second desktop site and .9 second mobile site load times, putting it near the top of Catchpoint’s tracked sellers. Sears (No. 19) was just behind on the desktop with 1.3 second median load times. Amazon achieved 1.3 second load times on its mobile site.
So far, retailers are faring much better than they did on Black Friday 2016, where sites for Macy’s Inc. (No. 6) and Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 23) both saw significant down time. Macy’s put shoppers into a queue to manage traffic, presenting a countdown clock to reload the page in a bid to keep users on the site. However, the retailer’s pages were down almost the entire day.