British retailers John Lewis and Next have been ranked number one respectively for the speed and reliability of their mobile websites in July, by new global research from internet and mobile cloud monitoring firm Keynote Systems.
With an average load time of just 4.8 seconds, fashion and homeware specialist Next was deemed the fastest-to-load mobile site out of the 24 leading retailers assessed, while department store group John Lewis was the only website that could be accessed 100 per cent of the time.
UK retail companies fared well overall, with John Lewis, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Next all achieving download times of less than seven seconds and availability scores of at least 99 per cent during the month.
In the study which also analysed mobile performances of retailers in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden and the US, all of the UK sites improved on their performance from June.
Established global brands such as Carrefour, Macy’s and Ikea were all ranked below each of the British retailers monitored in both lists.
Robert Castley, Lead Solutions Consultant at Keynote Systems, commented: “It’s great to see UK retailers making positive changes as they realise the importance of mobile retail.
“As smartphones continue to become more popular and bespoke apps and mobile sites are more commonly used for browsing and purchasing online, retailers must maintain a high level of site optimisation in order to continue to attract and retain customers.”
He also predicted that the forthcoming Christmas period is likely to seek a surge in people using mobiles to purchase gifts, and warned that retailers must ensure their m-commerce platforms are ready to handle the expected upturn in traffic.
With IMRG and Capgemini data showing that UK online sales increased by 23.4 per cent between October and November 2010 alone, it can be assumed that the next few months will see digital retail sites used more and more as the festive season approaches.
“To prepare for the Christmas shopping season, retailers also need to load test their mobile websites to make sure that they can cope with the increased demands of high volumes of traffic and transactions,” Castley argued.
“Leaving this to the last minute can result in disgruntled customers in the run-up to the festive season, so it’s fantastic to see that UK retailers are certainly moving in the right direction when it comes to mobile site performance.”