Site Confidence, the UK’s leading web performance monitoring company, has released startling research that shows top UK retailers lost a potential £0.3bn over the Christmas period, merely by failing to address the performance of their websites. In an analysis of 35 top retail sites over the month of December – traditionally the busiest time of the year for both on and offline retail, where the predicted UK online spend was £3.3bn* - around ten percent of the sites experienced severe problems with their performance and download times.

The research, which involved continuous testing of links, download speeds, image presence and uptime, found that the most problems occurred in the gadget sector. Sites such as, and had problems between 15 and 30% of the time, and as well as simple downtime issues, the download speeds were affected. Across the board, these retail sites took an average of 25 seconds to download pages, but this ranged from as little as 12 seconds (WHSmith) through to nearly a minute (

“Our findings show that, whilst UK businesses place enormous value on the internet as a sales channel, some retailers are still failing to address the problem of website downtime,” commented Bill Kirkwood, Site Confidence CEO. “The Christmas period is, for some, the most lucrative time of year, particularly for those with an online-only presence. In November, the IMRG predicted total online revenues for the Christmas period could reach £3.3bn. A website that is down is akin to a high-street shop with closed doors – no business should miss out on revenues just because of performance issues.”

Site Confidence uses specialist software developed in-house that tests a website in exactly the same way a user would approach and use a website. From clicking through links to measuring page download times and discovering missing images, anything that could go wrong is monitored and tested at regular intervals using separate systems to eliminate any possible third-party problems. Using these methods Site Confidence can also identify and isolate the root of the issue, be it a hosting company, or a large image and immediately inform the client, minimising downtime and loss of revenues.

* Source – IMRG November 2003


Site Confidence
Launched in March 2001, Site Confidence is the UK’s first web performance company to provide a set of focused site monitoring, analysis and performance tools for small and medium-sized businesses. The service, available from, gives smaller companies access to the kind of online web monitoring and analysis tools previously only available to the largest of corporations. Customers are offered a fast and simple way to monitor service levels from ISPs and web-hosting suppliers – enabling managers to make smarter buying decisions - as well as the ability to benchmark themselves against the competition.

For further information on Site Confidence please contact:

Esther Brown/Hannah Bailey

Nelson Bostock Communications

Tel: 020 7229 4400

Published on: 12:00AM on 15th January 2004