Black Friday 2016 Performance Review

Posted by Grant Engle on Nov 29, 2016

Thanksgiving in the USA sets off a chain reaction of e-commerce purchases unrivaled throughout the rest of the year.

Companies from around the world slash prices and offer deals during this weekend every year, and that means people from all walks of life rush to the Internet to buy things they need or get started on holiday shopping.

While Load Impact is a firm believer in continuously load testing your websites, apps, APIs and infrastructure throughout the year, we know there are plenty of people out there who only test before these types of big sales.

Seriously, only load testing when you think there’s a “need” is not a good idea. You are so much better off continuously monitoring your app’s performance. Check out our page to help you implement performance and load testing into a Continuous Delivery cycle. You’ll be amazed at how much easier your life will become — especially this time of year.

Here’s a quick review of how this year’s online shopping extravaganza affected some well-known companies’ reputation and revenue.

Load Impact Black Friday review

Macy’s Website Goes Down

One of the weekend’s first big-name casualties was Macy’s department store.

On Friday afternoon (Eastern Standard Time), reports started to pop up on social media that the retailing giant’s website was serving a message to users saying the site was dealing with “heavier traffic than normal” and their browser would be refreshed in 10 seconds.


Many people will say, “What’s only 10 seconds, really?” Well, we’ve talked to plenty of Internet users and software developers over Load Impact’s more than six years of existence, and we estimate around 75 percent (!!!) of online shoppers will simply go somewhere else if they have to wait longer than five seconds for a website to load.

Latency increase graphic.png

That is a lot of potentially lost revenue when you’re talking about a company the size of Macy’s, but it’s also a critical number for smaller companies who can’t afford to lose on any sales.

Nearly “Game Over” for GAME

Mayhem caused by a giant influx in online shoppers wasn’t only happening in the USA, either.

Popular UK video game retailer GAME faced challenges with its website on the evening of Nov. 24. Once again, frustrated shoppers went to social media — Twitter is where you tend to find angry shoppers — to say they couldn’t order their favorite titles because GAME’s site was slow.

You know things aren’t going great for your website when a person has time to go to your physical store, wait in line and return home before your website loads. That’s not exactly a reliable business model in today’s world.

H&M Online Shoppers Experience Slow Down

You may know that Load Impact was proudly founded in Stockholm, Sweden, so this one hurts a little extra.

Our friends at H&M — also a company with a Swedish heritage — reportedly fielded complaints in Sweden, Germany, the UK and the United States when their website’s performance was not exactly delighting some of their potential customers.

Black Friday Online Shopping Sets Records Again

Judging by early shopping data released by Adobe on Nov. 26, and it looks like online shopping has made another massive gain year over year.

Adobe says more than $5 billion was spent online by the end of Black Friday, which is a 17.7 percent increase over 2015.

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Mobile Performance Matters More Than Ever

Another interesting group of insights from Adobe’s research is the uptick in purchases made from mobile devices.

According to Adobe, purchases completed from smartphones accounted for 2.4 percent of total online purchases this year — up from 1.3 percent in 2015.

Purchases from tablets around Black Friday were responsible for 4.6 percent of total online sales numbers — nearly a 40 percent increase compared to last year.

This is just another example of how the online shopping experience continues to evolve around the globe, and it’s overwhelmingly clear that companies should be ready for people to complete purchases from the palm of their hand.

If you’re preparing for users to buy your goods and services from a mobile device, then you definitely want to check out the Load Impact Proxy Recorder. It’s a simple way to create realistic scenarios for load tests, which will give you crucial data as you optimize your app’s mobile performance.

Is Thanksgiving Day the New Black Friday?

Online consumers spent 11 percent more money on Thanksgiving Day this year than in 2015, eclipsing $1.9 billion in sales.

As with most things in the world of retail and e-commerce, everyone in the market is trying to be first with a good deal, so it’s only natural that online sales will start to get earlier and earlier each year — especially when sales can be made from the comfort of someone’s home while they eat turkey and watch football.

This stat intrigued us because it’s further proof that web performance isn’t just a once-a-year or once-a-quarter effort if you’re doing it right.

You can optimize your websites, apps, APIs and infrastructure throughout the year so you’re always ready.

And yeah, we remember that we mentioned Continuous Delivery at the beginning of this article, but we just wanted to remind you in case you forgot about the potential impact of losing revenue because of latency and unreasonable load times.

Thanks to the smart and talented people at Adobe Insights for sharing their Black Friday research with the world. Take a look at the full release here.

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Topics: black friday, Performance testing, e-commerce, Load Testing, Black Friday 2016

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