E-Commerce Market Revs Up while Website Speed Pumps the Brakes

Is there a new website speed standard? The gap between shopper expectations and e-retailers’ performance is expanding at an exponential rate as consumers identify an ideal load time at less than three seconds.

They may be offering more gismos, gadgets and gimmicks than ever before, but today’s e-commerce companies seem to be forgetting one central message: unique product offerings mean nothing if your website load time is better suited for the Dark Ages.

Slow Website Speed
Consumers identify ideal load time at less than 3 seconds. How does your website speed compare?

Gap between shopper expectations and e-retailers’ performance expands

After surveying the top 2,000 retail websites as part of its third annual “state of the union” report, Radware found that e-retail sites operate 22 percent slower in 2013 than they did in 2012. It’s a trend that’s been a long time coming as the median load time for a site in December of 2011 was 5.94 seconds; that average increased to 7.25 in 2012. Industry pundits predict that this winter that number could exceed nine seconds. But with consumers identifying an ideal load time at less than three seconds—and the e-commerce space poised to become a $327 billion industry by 2016—the gap between shopper expectations and e-retailers’ performance is expanding at an exponential rate.

What’s Causing Lag Time?

There are several chief offenders when it comes to your website speed including:

  • Un-optimized images, which can consume considerable amounts of bandwidth
  • More complex pages; the number of requests increased from 86 in 2011 to 98 in 2012
  • Excessive flash, which is especially incompatible with many mobile devices

Other culprits stealing your website speed include bulky flash applications, a poor web hosting provider and unnecessary third-party widgets.

The Cost of Poor Website Speed

The cost of slow load time for e-commerce companies is steep, according to research from the Aberdeen Group. In fact, for every additional second your consumer waits for your page to load, you risk a seven-percent loss in conversion. To quantify these statistics, if your e-commerce platform earns $100,000 a day, by the end of the year you could lose $2.5 million in sales due to slow website load time.

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Want to see how your website speed ranks when it comes to the top 2,000 e-retail companies? Learn more about Dotcom-Monitor’s free 30-day web performance trial.

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