Web Performance is a Journey, Not a Destination

Mehdi Daoudi

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Performance Report – Amazon Prime Day 2017

The much hyped and anticipated Amazon Prime Day, held between July 10 and 11, was yet another example of Amazon’s impressive hold on the ecommerce industry. The company surpassed its Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales during the 30 hours marathon sale. The sales performance managed to deliver better than expected and the event registered a 60% increase in growth this year. But how well did Amazon perform when it came to digital experience? Let’s look at the numbers and analyze how the Amazon website, both desktop and mobile, handled the influx of traffic.

Performance Balancing Act

Amazon was well prepared to handle the load with millions of transactions going through without a hitch. There were no major outages or performance slow downs during the course of the sale, which speaks volumes to the preparation that has gone behind the scene.

Based on the performance data collected we collected, the Amazon desktop site managed to deliver a page speed below 2.6 seconds, while the mobile site loaded within 1.7 seconds. The table below lists the different performance metrics to help gauge how well the website, US and global, performed on desktop and mobile devices.

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There was an increase in the page size as soon as the Prime Day deals went live. The sudden surge in traffic and the heavier page size slowed down the website. The load time for Amazon US climbed up a few hours into the sale and stabilized as the day progressed. On the other hand, the Amazon UK site slowed during the sale and the site was faster when the sale ended on July 11.

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The additional bytes on the page were mainly from new images. The desktop sites saw a spike in the number of images on the page, but this spike was relatively smaller in the mobile version of the site.

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The Amazon website managed to deliver performance without comprising user experience. The page was well optimized so it could handle the surge in traffic and deliver an above average page load time. Catchpoint CEO Mehdi Daoudi explained the significance of Amazon’s website performance strategy, “Aside from a minor glitch in the first hour, Amazon had very fast load times despite the heavy traffic of Prime Day. This is especially notable because their sites were heavy with many product images, and still, they loaded faster than the competition. With more retail commerce moving online, having a fast load time is a critical customer service mandate.”

Website optimization is integral to digital performance and Amazon is clearly a leader in implementing optimization techniques that can have a great impact on retail websites. To understand what is involved and what you can do to improve your ecommerce site’s performance, download our ebook, Keeping Up with Amazon.


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Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.