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Thanksgiving overload takes shopping hell online

Leading US online retail sites struggled to keep up with customer demand over the Thanksgiving period, according to internet performance management supplier Keynote Systems.

Average response time for completing a transaction on the e-commerce transaction index is typically 13 seconds, but Keynote said that on Monday it took more than 21 seconds to complete a transaction, with the success rate falling to 80% compared with the 97% norm.

"Unlike last year, when we reported a decrease in reliability of the sites on the Friday after Thanksgiving, it looks like this year that sort of phenomenon occurred on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend," said Keynote analyst Roopak Patel.

Patel said that it was probably because people who usually shopped online may have waited to take advantage of high-speed connections at work to do their shopping.

The lower performance figures come as online consumer research supplier ComScore Networks said it expected more people to buy items over the internet this year than last. ComScore said the increase in online spending in the US this year was partially due to more home broadband connections, making online shopping faster and more convenient.

This year US customers spent $133m (£69m) online at Thanksgiving, compared with $67m last year, an increase of 41%. ComScore said that online retail sales totalled $1,230m between 22 and 26 November this year, an increase of 35% on Thanksgiving week in 2003.

Linda Rosencrance writes for Computerworld


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