As we move into the final weekend of the 2012 Holiday Shopping Season, most online retailers will be looking back on this year and counting it as the most successful holiday season on record. comScore reports that the week of December 10-16 saw over $7 billion in revenue, bringing the total online spending to over $35 billion since November 1.

Performance continued to be stable for retail homepages throughout this week, even with a small increase in traffic for Free Shipping Day on Monday (December 17) – the last of the named days in this shopping season. The overall performance trend seen in US since Thanksgiving Day (November 22) indicates that while not every problem was solved this year, US retailers can build their performance plans for the 2013 holiday season on a solid foundation.

As the 2012 Holiday Shopping Season begins to wind down, it’s time to start planning for 2013. Three key items that can help retailers start 2013 on the right foot include:

  • It’s never too early to start testing. Too many companies leave performance testing until the last minute, causing extra cost in terms of development, infrastructure, cloud deployments, CDNs, and human resources. While there is no agreed upon time for starting the planning process, many large retailers start planning for the holiday shopping season as early as January.
  • Design with mobile in mind. If 2012 taught us anything it is that any retailer without a strong mobile channel that delivers peak performance under load and over wireless networks will be at a severe disadvantage during the 2013 holiday shopping season.
  • Your application is more complicated than you think. As was seen in Compuware web performance data, third-parties were primary contributors to poor performance when it occurred. Ask that your third-parties test to their predicted peak load, not just your peak load, to prevent shared services from being the performance bottleneck.

To round out today’s post, here are some aggregate stats for the November 22 to December 20 period.

Top 5 Browsers – November 22-December 20 2012

  1. IE 9
  2. Chrome (23)
  3. Safari (6)
  4. IE 8
  5. Safari (5)

Throughout the entire period, the most popular mobile device in the Compuware Retail and Ecommerce Real User Index was the iPad, followed by the iPhone 5.

Fastest Mobile Homepages – November 22-December 20 2012

  1. Office Depot
  2. Williams-Sonoma
  3. Barnes and Noble
  4. Buy.com
  5. Amazon

Fastest Desktop Homepages – November 22-December 20 2012

  1. Apple
  2. Costco
  3. Dell
  4. LL Bean
  5. Overstock