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Black Friday page load problems impact tenth of mobile users

28 December 2015 - 11:59 by Simon Crisp

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While more people used their smartphones and tablets to carry out safe shopping online over the course of Black Friday this year, a report from SciVisum suggests that almost one in 10 m-commerce users found that the sites they were trying to visit failed to load.

The analysis of Black Friday 2015 is still being published and debated by retailers and industry experts, with this particular report suggesting that, on average, it took sites six seconds to load, with an average web page being 850 kilobytes in size.

The fact that a tenth of people shopping from their smartphones encountered page load problems on Black Friday is clearly significant for retailers, since this type of issue can lead to cart abandonment and lost sales worth millions of pounds for the largest firms.

A rule of thumb laid used by analysts is that if pages take more than three seconds to load, the likelihood of consumers getting fed up and heading elsewhere increases exponentially. But on Black Friday, the sheer number of people attempting to carry out safe shopping online at the same time was always going to lead to traffic issues, even with the extra precautions that retailers took ahead of the event itself.

Some reports suggest that up to a quarter of sites were hit by outages on Black Friday this year, with retailers from Argos to John Lewis suffering minor but not insignificant issues. And since 60 per cent of all internet traffic on the day came from portable devices, it is perhaps surprising that the proportion of pages which failed to load was not higher.

The mobile shopping experience is improving, but retailers cannot continue to overlook just how important this platform is becoming for modern consumers.