By all accounts, Black Friday was as successful as online retailers hoped, with purchases up by 20% over 2011 according to data from IBM. Even with an increase in online sales and visits, Black Friday was remarkably quiet from a performance perspective, with only a few scattered and minor outages. Response times did spike for some retailers, but, as we have been noting all day, this was driven far more by third-party performance issues rather than issues with the sites themselves.

It also appears that the tradition of Black Friday has been overshadowed this year by the “Black Thursday” experienced by many sites, as some sites started their online deals on Thanksgiving Day rather than on Cyber Monday as in past years. An indicator of this shift appeared as an increase in total visitor volumes, as captured by the Compuware Real User Measurement eCommerce Index, where it a dramatic increase in visitors to retail sites started between 6PM and 11PM EST on Thanksgiving Day (November 22) and again at 8AM EST on Black Friday (November 23).

Complementing the theme of an increasingly mobile-focused shopping experience, Compuware data shows that iPad visitors comprised the largest population out of all the mobile devices visiting retail sites today. This aligns with statistics that show mCommerce is the fastest increasing segment of the online shopping, with a variety of sources indicating double-digit increases in visits from and purchases made on mobile devices.

This makes the performance of mobile devices a critical focus of all retailers. Compuware data shows that the performance experienced by visitors using an iPad on Wifi was as fast as some of the most popular browsers. Perceived Render Time, the time required for a page to be initially displayed to a visitors, for iPads on Wifi was faster than for visitors using IE 9.

Perceived Render Times – Retail Sites – By Browser/Device (in seconds)

  1. Chrome 22  – 1.613
  2. Chrome 23 – 1.730
  3. IE 10 – 1.975
  4. Firefox 16 – 2.000
  5. Firefox 14 – 2.119
  6. Firefox 17 – 2.129
  7. Firefox 15 – 2.170
  8. Safari 6 – 2.430
  9. iPad Wifi – 2.464
  10. IE 9 – 2.524
  11. iPad 3G – 4.122
  12. iPhone 5 – 7.760
  13. iPhone 4S – 8.163

Browser Top 5 – Visitors

  1. IE 9
  2. Chrome (23)
  3. Safari 6
  4. Safari 5
  5. Firefox 16

Our next scheduled update will be in the morning on Cyber Monday, but we will continue to monitor data throughout the weekend.