The Hidden Costs of a Slow Website

The Hidden Costs of a Slow Website

January 17, 2013

You’ve heard the catch phrases. No one likes a slow website. Faster is better. But in today’s eCommerce world where the average page load is around 10 seconds, can shaving seconds or even milliseconds make that much of a difference?
According to a recent study, Amazon.com discovered that shaving just 100 milliseconds from its load time increased sales by 1%. For a company that makes $67 billion in sales daily, Amazon conversely found that even a one second delay could cost them $1.6 billion annually. The numbers are mind boggling, but they ring a certain truth for any eCommerce company that seeks to increase its traffic and conversion rates while decreasing its bounce rates.

What the Industry Provides

Varied sources agree the average load time for retail sites in 2012 was 10 seconds, which was actually 10% faster than 2011 statistics. Top retail sites, though, averaged 4.83 seconds for their pages to load. A loose correlation may suggest that website load time is directly relative to the site’s success. This is important when considering eCommerce sales trends. 2012 eCommerce sales topped $209 billion. Over half of the American population shopped online in 2012. One study suggests that by 2015, eCommerce sales will total $270 billion, and by 2016, it is expected that 62% of Americans will shop online. Retail companies that are slow to accept the growing impatience that eConsumers feel for long wait times will begin to see their sales erode rather than grow.

Understanding eConsumers’ Desires

10 seconds may not seem like a long time, but it is for the average eCommerce shopper. Speed is relevant to today’s eConsumer. Their patience for e-retailers grows thin the longer they wait for a site to come up. A Google study concluded that consumers are less accepting of sites that load slowly, and begin to feel discouraged after just 400 milliseconds. Other research found that one in four people leave a site after waiting just 4 seconds to load. Many shoppers give a site less time before they abandon it, as one travel site study determined that 57% leave a site after just 3 seconds. Mobile users are slightly more tolerant than their PC counterparts, navigating away from a site after a full 10 seconds; however, three in five will never return.

The Effects of Slow Load Times on eCommerce Websites

So what this all boils down to is lost sales, lost loyalty, and lower search rankings. Over half of eConsumers claim that quick page loads are significant to their loyalty to a site, with 14% moving their business to a different site if load times are greater than what they expect. Even a one second increase in load time will cause fewer page views, a decrease in customer satisfaction, and a loss in conversion. Google views a site as slow if it takes longer than 1.5 seconds to load and will even downgrade its search rankings because of it. In this case, faster is always better.
If you would like a free consultation regarding the speed of your web site, please contact Net-Craft.com today.