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E-commerce sites survive Black Friday traffic spikes

07 December 2015 - 13:04 by David Aiken

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While Black Friday of 2014 saw some major retailers struggling to keep their sites afloat, as hundreds of thousands of customers attempted to carry out safe shopping online simultaneously, it looks like firms were better prepared to deal with this influx in 2015, according to a report from Dynatrace.

On average, page load speed across many of the biggest e-commerce sites around was 5.3 seconds. And while this is slower than might normally be expected, it does at least suggest that most retailers were coping with traffic well enough to actually accept visitors in the first place.

The worst performing site recorded on the day took 13.5 seconds to load its homepage, which is far longer than most consumers would be willing to wait. And, in normal circumstances, anything longer than three seconds is likely to put customers off a site before it has even had the chance to show them what it has to offer.

Some sites managed to get below the three second barrier even on Black Friday this year, with iPhone maker, Apple, being amongst the elite group of companies to operate a retail site which loaded in 2.5 seconds during this busy period. So perhaps those retailers with the most significant resources at their disposal were always going to be in the best position to weather the storm.

There were some exceptions to the rule in terms of resilience, with the report identifying retailers as suffering from full blown outages, especially in the US. But overall, analysts are convinced that Black Friday 2015 was handled more deftly than any of its predecessors, with £3.3 billion spent shopping online in the UK alone over the four days, from November 27th to the 30th, with Cyber Monday also included.