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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 09, 2013

UK retail websites struggled to cope with Cyber Monday traffic peaks

Some of the UK's top retailers struggled to maintain website performance during peak web traffic times on the country's biggest online shopping day of the year, according live website performance data from Borland.

by Helen Leggatt

This year was a record-breaking Cyber Monday in the U.K. More than £600 million (US$981 million) was spent online. However, even the biggest, most reputable, online retailers struggled to cope with the massive one-day spike in traffic causing damaging website response times.

According to Archie Roboostoff, product director at Borland, it's 'inevitable' that, during such peak periods of heavy traffic, websites will experience some slow down. And slow down they did. saw website performance slow from its usual 4.4 second load time to 14 seconds - a 31% drop in performance - while top fashion retailer,, slowed from an impressive 0.8 second load time to 4.2 seconds - a 19% drop in performance.

With around 40% of online shopping abandoning a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, both the above retailers would have missed out on a significant number of sales.

The key to maintaining website performance during periods of heavy traffic is, says Roboostoff, to have a strategy in place ahead of time.

"This," he said, "includes shutting down non-essential services and increasing capacity so that their networks can handle heavy loads. This strategy can also be used as a backup plan for any retailers who find their websites under performing in the midst of a sales promotion."

Data was sourced from Borland's website performance tool, Silk Webmeter.

Recent research carried out by online marketing and ecommerce specialists, Summit, found that the vast majority of the U.K.'s top 230 retail websites (Hitwise/Retail Week) had page load times that fail to meet the industry's 3-second benchmark.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: Cyber Monday, retail, U.K., website performance

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