Online retailers 'need to increase website performance during holiday season to retain customers'

Riverbed Technology, the performance company, has revealed that as many as 45 per cent of Europeans are planning to spend more time shopping online in the run up to the Christmas period compared to last year, following new research into festive shopping habits.

With 61 per cent of participants admitting that they were likely to form a negative brand perception of retailers whose sites perform poorly under the holiday shopping strain, the study has raised questions about the readiness of some retailers to cope with the surge in demand. This is underlined by the fact that 69 per cent of respondents admitted that they would feel uncomfortable making payments on websites that were slow, or struggled to load.

The study, which was commissioned by Riverbed and conducted by research group OnePoll, surveyed 2,700 people across France, Germany, and the UK on how they plan to purchase their Christmas gifts this year. It found that more than half (55 per cent) of Europeans now prefer to shop online rather than in-store, and also revealed that Europeans are likely to spend an average of 42 minutes each day shopping online in the run up to the Christmas shopping period.

Apurva Davé, vice president of products and marketing, Stingray Business Unit at Riverbed said: "The predicted increase in Christmas shopping traffic this year, as indicated by the study results, could catch retailers off guard. It is an ongoing challenge for retailers to provide superior website performance for their customers. Retailers must respond to customer demands by making every website visit fast, reliable, and secure, no matter how dynamic and varied customer activity may be."

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