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09.17.09

Online Shoppers Demand Fast Loading Web Pages

By Mike Sachoff


The amount of time it takes for a web page to load is a critical factor for any online business, especially those in ecommerce, according to new report by Forrester Consulting, conducted on behalf of Akamai.

The report found that two seconds is the new threshold in terms of an average online shopper's expectations for a web page to load and 40 percent of shoppers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a retail or travel site.

Quick page loading is also a key factor in a consumer's loyalty to an ecommerce site, especially for high spenders. The majority (79%) of online shoppers who experience a dissatisfying visit are less likely to buy from the same site again while 27 percent are less likely to buy from the same site's physical store, indicating the impact of a bad online experience will reach beyond the web and can result in lost store sales.

Key findings of the report include:

• Consumers become impatient when pages take longer than two seconds to load. 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, representing a significant evolution in consumer expectation over the 2006 study, which showed customer expectations at four seconds or less. Forrester found that 40 percent of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site.

• Online shopper loyalty is contingent upon quick page loading, especially for high-spending shoppers. 52 percent of online shoppers stated that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty, up 12 percent from the 2006 study.

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• Shoppers often become distracted when made to wait for a page to load. 14 percent will begin shopping at another site, and 23 percent will stop shopping or walk away from their computer.

• Retail and travel sites that under perform lead to lost sales. 79 percent of online shoppers who experience a dissatisfying visit are less likely to buy from that site again, up 17 percent from the 2006 study. 64 percent would simply purchase from another online store, up 16 percent from the 2006 study.

"The takeaway from this study is that site performance remains a major factor for keeping visitors coming back to a retail site. Online shoppers demand - and expect - quality site performance which is a requirement for optimal online success," said Pedro Santos, Chief Strategist for eCommerce at Akamai.

"With two seconds as the new benchmark for a retail or travel site to load, it leaves little room for error to maintain a company's loyal online customer base.


About the Author:
Mike is a staff writer for WebProNews.

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