One small survey across 15 countries suggests an annual median cost of US$10m.

Based on a March to April 2023 survey of 173 respondents selected for relevance to the topic of adoption and business value of ‘observability’ for the retail/consumer industry, one major finding among the respondents was that, with billions of dollars of consumer spending on the line, there was a need to double down on their digital customer experience (CX) strategies and focus on creating a seamless, omnichannel customer journey.

One hurdle to good digital CX is system outages/downtime, which can make a big impact during peak shopping seasons. The retailers surveyed cited experiencing high-business-impact outages at a higher frequency than other industries, with 37% reporting these outages occurring at least once a week, compared to the cross-industry average of 32%.

In addition, 55% of respondents noted it took at least 30 minutes to detect high-business-impact outages, and 61% indicated it took at least 30 minutes to resolve them. On a yearly basis, respondents reported a median an annual outage cost of US$9.95m.

Other findings

Respondents citing investments in observability tools indicated that the technology gave them visibility into their software across their often complicated technology stacks. The data indicated that retailers tended to spend more on observability than most other industries: 49% indicated they spent US$500,000 or more, and 31% spent US$1.5m or more per year on observability. Also:

    • 43% of respondents with observability tools indicated improvements in mean time to resolution since adopting an observability solution, in addition to business cost savings.
    • 69% of respondents in engineering functions were toggling between more than four observability tools in an effort to understand the different aspects of their business. They indicated that such tool sprawl could make it take longer to find outages, which leads to higher outage costs and poor customer experiences.
    • 42% of respondents indicated their organization was likely to consolidate tools in the next year to get the most value out of their observability spend. Of these respondents, 46% preferred a single, consolidated platform.
    • 98% expected to have deployed alerts, while network monitoring and security monitoring (both 97%) were also expected to be in place, by mid-2026.
    • 53% expected to deploy synthetic monitoring, 42% expected to deploy mobile monitoring, and 39% expected to deploy browser monitoring — in the next one to three years.
    • 90% expected to have deployed browser monitoring, 85% expected to have deployed mobile monitoring, and 79% expected to have deployed synthetic monitoring — by mid-2026.

According to Kris Day, SVP for Asia Pacific and Japan, New Relic, which commissioned the survey: “Even a small outage potentially can have a serious impact on bottom lines. The way to combat this is with a solid observability strategy in place” so that retailers can deliver seamless in-store and online customer experiences continuously.