Kohl’s and Target’s apps were at least 2 seconds faster than Walmart’s app, on average, during a December shopping weekend.

Target Corp.’s shopping app was faster than several other large store-based retailers’ apps during the busy holiday shopping weekend of Dec. 15-17, according to mobile app performance vendor PacketZoom.

PacketZoom analyzed the iOS apps of Target, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, Walmart (No. 3) and Kohl’s Corp. (No. 18) during that weekend to see how these retailers performed when shoppers were likely using the app both in stores and at home. All three of these retailers’ mobile apps include functions that shoppers can use in physical stores, such as in-store payments and coupon savings.

PacketZoom measures app speed as the time it takes to load the elements needed for a consumer to start searching in the app. The vendor calls this “time to browse.” PacketZoom monitors these apps across thousands of mobile devices while connected to Wi-Fi networks. 64% of consumers launch retail apps while connected to Wi-Fi, according to PacketZoom, which is why it monitors app performance in this way.

Target’s app loaded the fastest at 2.1 seconds on average during the Dec. 15-17 period, followed by Kohl’s in 2.5 seconds and Walmart in 4.7 seconds.

Target also has the smallest average asset size, meaning images that have to load, at 15 kilobytes, compared with 17 kilobytes for Kohl’s and 29 for Walmart.

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Target’s total content size on the first landing page is 268 kilobytes, compared with 274 kilobytes for Kohl’s and 1.5 megabytes for Walmart.

Target’s fast app speed is likely due to its smaller average asset size, which allows it to display more images quickly, says Chetan Ahuja, PacketZoom’s founder and chief technology officer.

“While Walmart’s total content size is 5.5 times larger than Kohl’s, it only took 1.88 times longer to load,” Ahuja says. “This reflects the balancing act practiced by mobile app developers: choosing between pushing more content in the home screen while compromising speed, and sharing less content on the home screen faster.”

A few months ago, Target also had a speedy app, loading in 2.1 seconds, on Internet Retailer and Packet Zoom’s back-to-school app performance index, which monitored iOS app speed between July 25-Aug. 4.

When tested during the back-to-school period, Walmart’s app loaded more than a second faster, in 3.4 seconds, compared with how its app loaded during the holiday shopping weekend in December. Walmart declined to comment.

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About 71% of consumers expect a mobile app to load within 3 seconds and 63% of consumers would abandon an app that takes more than 5 seconds to load, according to a survey of 2,000 mobile app users in November 2017 conducted by PacketZoom and mobile ad platform Tapjoy.

The survey also found that 22% of consumers said they use apps while shopping.

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