Online shoppers have extremely short attention spans.

A 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7 per cent and over half (53 per cent) of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

The figures are contained in the State of Online Retail Performance report, a biannual study that analyses performance metrics for leading retail websites.

The data, gathered by SOASTA (which was acquired by Akamai in April 2017), represents one month’s worth of anonymous user data from top online retailers, equating to approximately 10 billion user visits.  The team applied data analytics to generate insights into the intersection of IT, business, and user experience metrics.

Time is money

According to the report, desktop pages that loaded in 2.7 seconds experienced a peak conversion rate of 12.8 per cent. Pages that loaded 100 milliseconds slower – in other words, in 2.8 seconds – experienced a 2.4 per cent decrease in conversion rate.

Smartphones and tablets were affected more, with 7.1 per cent and 3.8 per cent decreases in conversion rates, respectively.

Optimal load times for peak conversions ranged from 1.8 to 2.7 seconds across device types.

The report found a two-second delay in web page load time increases bounce rates by 103 per cent. Bounce rates were highest for mobile phone shoppers, while tablet shoppers had the lowest bounce rate.

Half of consumers browse for products and services on their smartphones, while only one in five complete purchases using those phones.

“Results from our State of Online Retail Performance report have shown that user experience is critical to ecommerce success, and things aren’t getting any easier,” said Ash Kulkarni, senior vice president and general manager, Web Experience Division, Akamai.

“Customers have extremely short attention spans, and degradations in website performance – no matter how small – can cause consumers to go elsewhere in an instant. Sharing our findings about performance gives online merchants the actionable data they need to stay competitive.”

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