Lowe’s, Chick-Fil-A, and UberEats won first place in a new index that measures how quickly an app can sell a product. Mobile app testing company HeadSpin counted “Total Spinner Time” for shopping and food ordering apps to determine which brands required the least amount of waiting.

For the first annual HeadSpin App Performance Index (HAPI), the company measured four key performance indicators to benchmark the relative latency of leading apps in a given category.

SEE: Mobile device security: Tips for IT pros (free PDF)

Each app’s “Total Spinner Time” is measured in seconds and includes four key performance indicators, which represent the total time it takes to launch an app, search, load a product, and add it to the cart. The report tested 25 apps for retailers, fast food restaurants, and food delivery in five American cities in April. The test included iOS phones running 12.4 and 13.4 and Android phones running OSes 9 and 10.

Here is how each company stacked up.

Traditional retailers beat online only stores

Three brick and mortar stores topped the list with Amazon coming in at eighth place:

  1. Lowe’s 7.2 seconds
  2. Target 7.8
  3. Best Buy 8.9
  4. Wayfair 9.0
  5. Shop 9.4
  6. Home Depot 9.6
  7. Kohl’s 10.2
  8. Amazon 10.4
  9. Walmart 12.5
  10. Wish 14.4

On iOS phones, Amazon was the slowest at 20.1 seconds and Best Buy was the fastest at 8.8 seconds. Among Android phones, Wish was the slowest at 12.8 and Target topped the list at 5.4 seconds.

HeadSpin’s analysis found that Amazon’s app was so slow on iPhones because of slow transport layer security with many connections being made to multiple Amazon hosts.

  1. HeadSpin’s report has this advice for developers building shopping apps:
  2. Account for real-world conditions when testing and allow server-side ability to configure image sizes.
  3. Make sure all traffic is encrypted to avoid MITM attacks.
  4. Eliminate any instances of low page content over two seconds.
  5. Avoid duplicate messages that indicate the client received and downloaded the same resource multiple times.
  6. Product images that are not seasonal or promotional should be cached.

Papa John’s and Wendy’s are the fastest

HeadSpin used the same criteria to clock the performance of food ordering apps at 10 fast food chains. Papa John’s ordering app outperformed Pizza Hut and Domino’s in the overall evaluation, on iOS phones and Android devices, and in each key performance indicator except one: Launch. Wendy’s app was the fastest way to order a burger on both iOS and Android phones, while Burger King was near the bottom of the list, and McDonalds was in the middle.

Here are the rankings for fastest ordering app overall:

  1. Chick-Fil-A 4.5
  2. Papa John’s 4.5
  3. Wendy’s 4.7
  4. Dunkin’ 5.7
  5. McDonald’s 6.4
  6. Chipotle 6.8
  7. Pizza Hut 7.8
  8. Domino’s 9.7
  9. Burger King 10.3
  10. Panera Bread 11

UberEats topped the list of ordering aps in overall performance, for both phone OSes, and all four KPIs except for search. Postmates won that round with an average search time of .8 of a second.

One reason Grubhub was slow to launch on Android was because of multiple connections to the graph.facebook host and multiple calls to third-party hosts to initialize SDKs at launch.

To speed up food ordering apps, HeadSpin recommends reducing SDK bloat and giving special attention to driver apps, particularly testing on the go.

Mobile app testing company HeadSpin counted “Total Spinner Time” for shopping and food ordering apps to determine which brands required the least amount of waiting to calculate the HeadSpin App Performance Index.
Image: HeadSpin