RealTime IT News

Holiday Shopping Sites Maintain Performance

The leading holiday shopping Web sites last week overall performed almost as well as during the pre-holiday e-shopping season, according to new figures.

The "Keynote 1999 e-Shopping Holiday Watch" study reported that this is the second consecutive week that the leading sites have performed so well, suggesting that the online holiday shopping season may be winding down from its peak during the week after Thanksgiving.

Overall performance degraded 9 percent from the previous week for online shoppers at work, reflecting significant performance changes at several Web sites, but performance was still slightly faster than the first week of November, Keynote said.

For online shoppers at home, performance last week was only .08 seconds slower than the previous week and comparable to the first week of November.

Performance at five sites -- Macy's, Wine.com, eBay, eToys and Lands' End -- degraded between 20 and 29 percent from the previous week for e-shoppers at work yet improved at Amazon.com by 14 percent.

Performance for e-shoppers at home degraded at Lands' End, eToys and Wine.com between 9 and 17 percent while improving at Wal-Mart by 17 percent and at Barnes & Noble by 6 percent.

Based on Keynote's data from over 600,000 measurements during the week ending Dec. 18, Lands' End, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, CDNow and eBay ranked highest in performance for e-shoppers at work, each with average Web site performance faster than 4 seconds.

For e-shoppers at home, Barnes & Noble, eBay, CDNow, and Wal-Mart ranked highest, each with average Web site performance of 16.32 seconds or faster.

The 10 top shopping Web sites measured by Keynote averaged 4.22 seconds for e-shoppers at work on T-1 and T-3 lines, a degradation from 3.87 seconds the previous week, but slightly faster than 4.26 seconds the week ending Nov. 6.

The sites averaged 19.69 seconds for e-shoppers using 56-Kbps modems from home, a slight degradation from 19.61 seconds the previous week but not far from the 19.31-second average the week ending Nov. 6.

Average site availability improved from 96.6 percent to 98.3 percent for e-shoppers at work, and degraded slightly from 90.3 to 90.1 percent for e-shoppers at home.

"The heavy online holiday shopping season appears to be winding down," said Dan Todd, director of Public Services at Keynote. "Although performance and availability declined somewhat from the previous week, they are still comparable to the pre-holiday shopping experience at the beginning of November. It will be interesting to see how performance may be affected by online gift returns the next few weeks."