Average loading times have slowed by as much as nine percent since last year, according to a new study by Strangeloop.
Last year the median loading time for an online retail web page was 5.94 seconds, as viewed on Internet Explorer 9. This year, that time has risen to 6.50 seconds, according to a report released by optimisation firm Strangeloop Networks. This data indicates a worrying trend for an e-commerce manager.
The report has been conducted by Strangeloop since 2010. The Vancouver-based firm measured the performance of the top 2,000 e-commerce sites as listed by Alexa Internet, which happens to be an Amazon subsidiary. Strangeloop ran these sites on a simulator that recreates the browsing experience of users from anywhere in the world, using any browser.
Page loading speeds are an integral metric for online retailers to be aware of, as it is proven to have a direct influence on bounce rates and conversions. The fact that websites are slowing down is therefore definite cause for concern, and there’s no easy solution.
Strangeloop identifies that among the sampled websites, page sizes have been increasing on average, with larger amounts of high-quality videos, images and advertisements. The report found that the average page size has increased by five percent since last year.
Joshua Bixby, Strangeloop’s CEO, explains that many e-commerce businesses aren’t maximising their hosting, development and optimisation investments to increase site performance.
“This data tells us that when it comes to performance, many retailers are still leaving money on the table. Site owners should be conducting routine tests across a variety of browsers,” Bixby says. “They should be measuring performance using a variety of metrics, and they need to ensure third-party scripts have been optimised. Implementing these basic performance tenets will drastically improve revenue.”
The report highlights the fact that e-commerce sites are becoming bigger and heavier than advances in network and browser performance can account for. If this trend continues, it will ultimately affect sales.