How did the nation’s leading e-commerce sites fare during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, including Cyber Monday? Panopta’s uptime report claims that even top retailers were plagued by downtime over the crucial shopping period.
Panopta claims it checks each site every minute from 27 different locations around the world. The service, which began in 2011, monitors the top retailers throughout the holiday season. Panopta began this year’s study Nov. 10 at midnight UTC.
According to Panopta, top downtime culprits included Kmart, Sears, CDW, TigerDirect, and Victoria’s Secret. A total of 41 sites failed to meet the goal of 99.9 percent uptime—a key metric throughout the year, but even more so during the holidays.
According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 129.2 million Americans planned to shop on Cyber Monday in 2012, up from the 122.8 million who shopped last year and the 106.9 million who shopped on Cyber Monday in 2010. Over the “Black Friday” weekend, the average person spent $172.42 online over the weekend, or approximately 40.7 of their total weekend spending, up from 37.8 percent last year.
Even those out shopping in physical stores increasingly turned to mobile apps to help find better prices. That’s perhaps due to the “showrooming” trend of recent years, in which shoppers play with a product in a brick-and-mortar store before buying it online at a better price. The number of shoppers planning to use their smartphones or other mobile devices this Cyber Monday increased to 20.4 million this year, from 17.8 million in 2011—an increase of 14.4 percent, according to the NRF.
Sites with perfect uptime—at least according to Panopta—included Apple.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy.com, Ebay.com, Kohls.com, Lowes.com, Target.com, Toys ‘R’ Us, Walmart.com, and many other top retailers.
The sites with the most downtime included Kmart.com, whose 97.44 uptime translated into a whopping 10 hours and 50 minutes of downtime. Sears.com achieved 97.52 percent uptime (down 10 hours 30 minutes); CDW.com was up 97.65 percent of the time (down 9 hours 59 minutes), while TigerDirect.com (98.50 percent uptime, down 6 hours 21 minutes) and Victoria’s Secret (98.52 percent uptime, down 6 hours 18 minutes) trailed. Pixmania.com, Gamefly.com, YankeeCandle.com, Gamestop.com, and Threadless.com rounded out the top ten sites with the most downtime.
Earlier in the year, Uptrends predicted that smaller sites would fare the worst during the holidays. During the 31-day period from Oct. 14 until Nov. 14th, Uptrends said it monitored the home pages of 1640 of the most popular e-commerce sites, including the Internet Retailer Top 1000. The firm conducted the test from over 100 checkpoints worldwide, with a monitoring interval period of 5 minutes, and checked availability for visitors and potential customers.
For the largest sites, Uptrends confirmed Panopta’s findings: Amazon.com, EsteeLauder.com, Ikea.com, RadioShack.com, Shoes.com, Staples.com, ToysRus.com and Vistaprint.com all suffered no downtime at all. In all, 411 Web sites of those tested had a 100 percent uptime rating, Uptrends found.
But sites near the bottom of the pack performed horribly, with an amazingly bad 53.60 percent uptime for TotalBedroom.com—or more than 356 hours of downtime. Activasource.com had 78.25 uptime, or 167 hours of downtime, followed by pet-source.com (89.24 percent uptime), mrsbeasleys.com (89.52 percent uptime) bplay.com (92.51 percent uptime). Even Bplay’s 92.51 percent uptime equated to 57.5 hours of outages.
Just like baseball, NCAA football, or even the NFL, the holidays represent crunch time for e-commerce providers. Those sites that remain available, sell product. According to the uptime results, Amazon, Walmart and others are succeeding. Those near the bottom of the list need to find an alternative solution, and fast.