It's the most wonderful time, of the year ... The official start of the holiday season is just days away, and online retailers are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to capture web traffic and sales.
This year, over a thousand retailers will be participating in Cyber Black Friday, and more than 700 will be joining in the Cyber Monday deal bonanza.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that shoppers will do 36 percent of their holiday shopping online this year, helping to boost holiday retail sales 2.8 percent over last year to $465.6 billion. Retailers are anticipating a profitable year as well--68 percent of retailers confided in Shop.org's eHoliday survey that they expect their online sales to grow at least 15 percent compared to last holiday season.
But in order for these predictions to come true, online retailers need to ensure their websites can support the heavy traffic surges they will likely experience and stay up and running, and delivering great performance, throughout the weekend. This is the weekend that will test the limits of retail websites and reveal which brands have been successful in their load testing and preparations.
Historically, Thanksgiving weekend has been responsible for some of the year's biggest web outages. And so once again, we will be tracking the website performance, including availability and response times, of some of the largest online retail brands.
Experiencing a down website yourself? Looking for hard data to support anecdotal reports? Check back with us for periodic performance updates throughout the holiday shopping season. You can also track the performance of the Internet Retailer Top 50 throughout the season with our retail benchmark report, which we update weekly.