Web analytics firm QuBit has released the results of research that has found slow websites have prompted the abandonment of a transaction by 8% of consumers.
The study was carried out to coincide with QuBit’s launch of Universal Tag which consolidates multiple measurement platforms as part of its OpenTag management system.
Based on 60,000 individual pieces of customer feedback, the research has led QuBit to conclude that slow sites cost online retailers globally more than £1.7 billion.
The study looked at general retail sites, but QuBit said there are lessons for travel sites in the findings.
QuBit identified six key benefits of faster sites:
The research identifies six key benefits of enhanced site speed:
- Higher traffic – a fast loading page will encourage repeat visitors, driving overall increases in traffic;
- Reduced abandonment – one of the clearest costs of slow site speeds is users abandoning their shopping cart in frustration at poor speeds;
- Increase page views per visit – consumers are more likely to spend longer a site, and view more pages, if each page loads quicker;
- Improved brand equity – A negative site experience damages a brand’s reputation with consumers;
- Enhanced response rates – Consumers are more likely to interact with or respond to marketing or offers if they are delivered in a timely fashion;
- Increased conversion rate – All of the above will combine to deliver an enhanced conversion rate to purchase, driving increased sales and revenues.
Graham Cooke, chief executive of QuBit, said: “Site speed is one of the most fundamental measures of a site’s performance so it’s surprising to see so many major retailers falling down in this area.
“There are a range of simple things that retailer can do to enhance site speed – from using a content delivery network to implementing tag management – and the £1.7 billion cost of slow speeds should be more than enough incentive for retailers to look at these options.
“The numbers revealed by this research are even more troubling when you bear in mind the expected rate of growth for online retail. Based on current predictions, if retailers fail to act on poor site speeds it could be costing them more than £4 billion in just 18 months.”
The QuBit research analysed the site speed performance of leading online retailers.
Average speed of home page loading was found to be a reasonable 3.5 seconds and category pages 6.5 seconds but there was a massive difference in page load speeds across organisations.
Leading sites such as Ikea.com loaded as much as eleven times faster than the worst performing sites such as Barnes and Noble.
The slowest-loading site, dealextreme.com, was on average seventeen times slower than the leaders.
The research’s findings into the cost of latency are based on analysis of more than 60,000 pieces of consumer feedback collected from more than 80 sites over a year using QuBit’s Exit Feedback tool. The feedback was categorised and analysed to identify users who had identified site speed as an issue. While 8% of users cited site speed as a reason for not purchasing from a site, this figure is weighted against average conversion rates to reach the £1.7 billion figure.
The industry benchmarking study analysed the page loading times of the 20 leading global online retailers over a two week period, monitoring the average site-speed across their major servers.