Ecommerce Growth Up 20%: Keep Load Testing

Posted by Load Impact on Mar 20, 2018

We might all be breathing a sigh of relief. We survived the holiday shopping season, and what most of us consider the peak ecommerce season.

Don’t believe it. We’re all professionals, and there’s no time to rest, it turns out. Our reminder: keep load testing because ecommerce continues to increase.

Last fall, we shared the latest data from Comscore, and their freshly released update (State of the US Online Retail Economy in Q4 2017) gives us even more insights.

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Comparing Q4 in 2016 to Q4 in 2017, more people bought more stuff online. And they did so even more than we expected. Before we look at the numbers, here’s what this growth means to us: ecommerce continues to grow as a percentage of overall retail spend. And, that spend continues to shift earlier in the season (and throughout the year, with year-over-year growth).

In Q4 2016, we saw $86.6 billion in ecommerce spend. Contrast that to Q4 2017’s $99.4 billion in spending: a 15% year-over-year change. Rather than quote too many numbers here, it’s also interesting to note that there were 6% more buyers, and the average ecommerce transactions per buyer increased by 20% as well.

Across all categories, then, ecommerce grew during the holiday season, and significantly so. Developers - us - can’t afford to let down our guard. Instead, we have to test (load test) consistently and constantly.

While Comscore’s reports take some time to assemble, we don’t see the numbers for a given quarter until well into the next quarter. Thus, it’s hard to predict what numbers we’ll see in the first quarter of this year.

Past experience, however, tells us that we should all be seeing an overall ecommerce lift so far in Q1. Looking at Comscore’s numbers, just as every Q4 shows year-over-year growth, so does every Q1.

(Comscore’s terms are interesting, combining mobile commerce and ecommerce into one term, “digital commerce.” When Comscore uses the term “ecommerce,” they mean desktop use only. In this article, we’ve used “ecommerce” where Comscore uses “digital commerce” because we think that’s a more common meaning.) 


No matter what you call it, the combination of mobile and desktop commerce (ecommerce), has hit a new peak in Q4 2017. Of all retail transactions, 19.2% were done via these electronic means.

Plus, year over year, the number of transactions per buyer increased 13%. So if overall transaction volume has increased by 20%, too, that’s a lot of transactions for you to be ready to handle. More buyers, more transactions, and more money spent overall: all a recipe for insuring your sites can handle the load. (An interesting footnote: while overall seasonal spend per buyer went up, the spend per transaction dropped 5%, possibly due to aggressive discounting.)

That’s more load for your ecommerce sites and apps, and more pressure on you, the developer, to make sure your code can handle the load.

More insights from this fascinating research soon.

Happy testing!

Topics: Performance testing, comScore, ecommerce, Load Testing, ecommerce growth

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