Online marketplace eBay took an average of just 1.874 seconds to allow shoppers to add an item to their cart, data from Testplant finds.

Traditional retailers are doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the online-only merchants when it comes to web performance, except when sites get stressed by heavy traffic, a new study finds.

When the sites of 10 major retailers face heavy traffic, the “born digital sites” cope much better than the traditional retailers, according to digital automation intelligence vendor Testplant, which measured the overall transaction response times, defined here as the amount of time it takes to visit a website and add a product to cart. Testplant ran a test for Internet Retailer during a two-day span (Sunday-Monday, Dec. 17-18), measuring 10 major retail websites, including online marketplace eBay, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 3) and Etsy Inc. (No. 22) among others.

All 10 sites had mean transaction times under 5 seconds during normal periods, but when the sites faced heavier traffic, website transaction times for retailers that also operate bricks-and-mortar stores shot much higher. The one exception was Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 10), which posted a peak transaction time of 6.8 seconds, second only to’s 5.4 seconds. But a transaction on the website of Kohl’s Corp. (No. 18) took 29.2 seconds when traffic spiked and for Macy’s Inc. (No. 6) 24.5 seconds.

 “Traditional retailers have understood that performance is important and they’ve optimized their sites as much as they can, but because they don’t have that tech heritage, the performance is only skin-deep and doesn’t go back all the way through their legacy infrastructure,” a Testplant spokeswoman says.

Holiday shoppers visiting eBay Inc.’s website were able to add a product to their carts in the shortest period of time. Testplant’s data found that it took on average 1.874 seconds from visiting eBay’s site to where a shopper could successfully add an item to their online shopping cart, the fastest of all 10 websites measured.


Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500 and which may have captured half of all online sales on Black Friday, had an average transaction response time of 2.157 seconds, third behind Etsy and eBay. Overall, the top three fastest retail sites are all digitally native brands, while the three slowest—Target Corp. (No. 20), Toys R Us Inc. (No. 38), and Kohl’s Corp. (No. 18)—are retail chains that also sell online.