Study Discovers Holiday Web Shopping Negatively Impacted by Poor Site Performance

Frustrated shopperIs it possible that heavy traffic to your website could have a negative impact on your business? It may seem counterintuitive, but that’s exactly the scenario posited by a new study released today by Gomez, the web performance division of Compuware Corporation.

Specifically, the study—entitled “When More Website Visitors Hurt Your Business: Are You Ready for Peak Traffic?”—found that unsatisfactory web performance is a major issue in the retail business, and most decidedly has an effect on how and where consumers make their online purchases.

“Peak web traffic means increased revenue opportunity,” explained Compuware VP of Performance and Strategies Matt Poepsel. “For most businesses, peak periods are precisely when they spend the most on promotions and campaigns to drive visitors to their sites and convert the sale. However, it’s clear that peak traffic also means increased risk for degraded web performance and, consequently, lost business. Investing in web load testing before marketing campaigns and seasonal traffic spikes can help businesses ensure that their customers’ online experience is optimal, even under peak loads.”

Amongst the study’s findings:

  • 51 percent of respondents spend a significant part of their online shopping budget during peak traffic times, and 67 percent expect sites to continue working just as well during these times.
  • Web sites that worked slower during peak traffic periods were noted by 72 percent of respondents, with 58 percent reporting more errors and 51 percent claiming more failed transactions.
  • An alarming 78 percent of consumers polled switched to a competitor’s website after slowdowns and errors were experienced during peak traffic periods. 88 percent said they’d be less likely to return to the problem site, with nearly half claiming their perception of the company took a negative hit.
  • One third of the respondents indicated that they experienced poor performance on retail websites during the 2009 holiday season, with 41 claiming to have abandoned a particular website after only one or two negative experiences.

Compuware’s study surveyed 1,500 consumers who use the web at peak times. The full study can be found at