2011 Holiday eCommerce Winners and Losers

We’ve had a chance to run the numbers and now have the final results of our 2011 Holiday eCommerce Availability Index. Over the course of six weeks, starting right before Thanksgiving and ending on New Years Day, we tracked the downtime of all major online retailer websites, checking every minute to see whether holiday shoppers would be able to make their purchases or would be forced to head to a competitor.

After analyzing the results, some of the losers had downtime of more than seven hours in one instance, while the winners had zero downtime throughout the entire holiday season, showing the differences of those who are prepared versus those who were not.

Overall, online retailers who experienced outages around the beginning of the holiday season tended to fix their issues. There were three times the number of downtime minutes during Thanksgiving weekend than in all of December, showing that once retailers saw their sites going down, they quickly reacted, possibly by adding more servers and enhanced infrastructure. Site performance was much more consistent in December as compared to November, with one spike on Dec 23, the last day to order with overnight shipment that would be delivered in time for Christmas.

Over 50 sites had no downtime at all and had very quick response times, including Apple, Staples, REI, and Kohls. On the flipside, over 70 sites monitored did have significant downtime, including 22 sites with outages lasting more than three hours. Some of these include OfficeDepot and GameFly.

Compared to the 2010 index, the sites that performed well continued to do so (including the big three Amazon, Target and Walmart). Some that had extensive trouble in 2010 made a big improvement (JCPenney and Express both had 100% uptime and The North Face decreased its downtime by approximately 90% .

Not all improved however, OfficeDepot had nearly eight hours of total downtime, an improvement from 2010 but still significant, while Levenger improved slightly but still had over four hours of total downtime.

Based on Forrester’s estimate of $60 billion in online sales during the holidays in the US alone, all this downtime certainly translated to lost revenue. If we make the rough assumption that these ecommerce sites represent 50% of the total, and sales are evenly spread throughout the holiday season (very rough approximations, I admit, but enough to get an order-of-magnitude estimate) then each minute of downtime corresponds to roughly $5000 in lost sales opportunity. Certainly some customers will wait for a site to come back and return, but regardless there is serious revenue at risk.

Aggregating all of the downtime across all 132 sites, we recorded nearly 9 days of downtime, which translates to nearly $65 million in lost sales opportunities!

Below are the full details of the measured downtime for the sites we monitored, along with their 2010 numbers. Interested in more details? Email info@panopta.com and we’ll send you the full dataset from the study.

How did your site do over the holidays? What worked (or didn’t) to prepare? Please share your ideas in the comments!

Update: We have been in contact with TigerDirect’s IT team and confirmed that one of the outages we recorded was actually due to their servers blocking our monitoring nodes rather than an actual website outage. The numbers below and on the holiday site have been updated to reflect this.

 

Click on any of the headers to sort the table.

Website 2010 Downtime (minutes) 2011 Downtime (minutes) Difference (minutes)
abercrombie.com 224 321 -97
ae.com 134 0 134
aeropostale.com 0 3 -3
amazon.com 8 0 8
americangirl.com 0 0
anntaylor.com 0 161 -161
anntaylorloft.com 0 153 -153
anthropologie.com 0 65 -65
apple.com 0 0
backcountry.com 0 0
bananarepublic.com 0 41 -41
barnesandnoble.com 35 0 35
basspro.com 81 9 72
bathandbodyworks.com 2 35 -33
bebe.com 0 0
bedbathandbeyond.com 0 0
blockbuster.com 62 493 -431
bloomingdales.com 0 0
bluefly.com 0 231 -231
bluenile.com 0 14 -14
bose.com 2 0 2
brookstone.com 460 641 -181
buy.com 0 0
cabelas.com 217 162 55
cb2.com 4 64 -60
cdw.com 0 31 -31
childrensplace.com 0 31 -31
coach.com 109 203 -94
coldwatercreek.com 99 0 99
containerstore.com 8 61 -53
cooking.com 11 1 10
costco.com 4 0 4
crateandbarrel.com 18 70 -52
crutchfield.com 3 135 -132
cvs.com 39 0 39
dell.com 0 5 -5
dickssportinggoods.com 0 75 -75
dillards.com 66 4 62
discoverstjohn.com 0 0
disneystore.com 200 92 108
drjays.com 75 36 39
dsw.com 14 0 14
ebags.com 207 27 180
ebay.com 0 0
eddiebauer.com 1 42 -41
express.com 376 0 376
forever21.com 18 160 -142
fossil.com 731 93 638
frys.com 446 0 446
game.co.uk 236 114 122
gamefly.com 519 812 -293
gamestop.com 14 371 -357
gap.com 0 0
gifts.com 1 26 -25
gilt.com 0 79 -79
guess.com 968 7 961
hallmark.com 0 0
hammacher.com 97 0 97
harryanddavid.com 300 567 -267
hm.com 11 36 -25
homedepot.com 21 14 7
ikea.com 0 0
jcpenney.com 248 0 248
jcrew.com 0 0
joann.com 151 137 14
jr.com 236 432 -196
kmart.com 2 455 -453
kohls.com 0 0
lanebryant.com 0 264 -264
lego.com 46 4 42
levenger.com 1704 313 1391
llbean.com 0 23 -23
lowes.com 0 0
lululemon.com 80 245 -165
macys.com 0 0
marksandspencer.com 63 0 63
meijer.com 34 4 30
newegg.com 0 43 -43
nflshop.com 1 56 -55
niemanmarcus.com 0 13 -13
nike.com 211 103 108
ninewest.com 0 0
nordstrom.com 1 0 1
officedepot.com 816 493 323
officemax.com 49 1 48
oldnavy.com 0 51 -51
onsale.com 0 509 -509
orvis.com 176 0 176
overstock.com 0 0
petco.com 1 420 -419
petsmart.com 0 58 -58
pier1.com 76 228 -152
pixmania.com 58 280 -222
play.com 0 0
potterybarn.com 0 5 -5
radioshack.com 0 67 -67
ralphlauren.com 0 3 -3
redenvelope.com 0 99 -99
reebok.com 89 0 89
rei.com 0 0
restorationhardware.com 7 0 7
saksfifthavenue.com 0 0
samsclub.com 0 0
sears.com 2 460 -458
sephora.com 5 276 -271
shoes.com 0 0
shopadidas.com 9 0 9
shutterfly.com 0 9 -9
sony.com 2 13 -11
sonystyle.com 0 299 -299
sportsauthority.com 0 12 -12
staples.com 0 0
target.com 0 0
thenorthface.com 1561 48 1513
threadless.com 25 76 -51
tiffany.com 0 146 -146
tigerdirect.com 9 34 -25
timberland.com 20 191 -171
toysrus.com 0 14 -14
ulta.com 164 485 -321
urbanoutfitters.com 0 163 -163
victoriassecret.com 0 0
walgreens.com 85 0 85
walmart.com 0 0
wetseal.com 62 104 -42
williams-sonoma.com 0 0
yankeecandle.com 0 27 -27
yoox.com 0 0
zales.com 0 11 -11
zappos.com 0 0
zavvi.com 104 365 -261

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