Page load speed is often not a major consideration for store owners when starting, relaunching or optimising their stores, but slow loading websites cost retailers an estimated £1.7bn in lost sales each year.

Industry leader WebPerformanceToday recently revealed [1]:

“For every 1 second of improvement, experienced up to a 2% conversion increase. Firefox reduced average page load time by 2.2 seconds, which increased downloads by 15.4% — resulting in an estimated 10 million additional downloads per year. And when auto parts retailer cut load times in half, it experienced a 13% increase in sales”

Studies by Gomez and Akamai are often referenced in posts about page speed, but these studies are several years old, and users expectations are probably even higher now. Even so, the results from the Akamai study (in 2009, interviewing over 1,000 online shoppers) are pretty shocking:

  • 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  • 40% will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
  • 52% of online shoppers claim that quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site.

A more recent study by the (now defunct) BrandPerfect, questioned 1,568 UK consumers on their shopping habits. Two thirds (67%) cite ‘slow browsing pages or product images’ as the main reason they would abandon an online purchase.

It’s not just conversion rates and customer loyalty that could be affected by page speed, as Billy Hoffman (of Moz) points out [2]:

“in 2010 Google announced website speed would begin having an impact on search ranking … Google’s Matt Cutts announced that slow-performing mobile sites would soon be penalized in search rankings as well. Clearly Google is increasingly acting upon what is intuitively obvious: A poor performing website results in a poor user experience, and sites with poor user experiences deserve less promotion in search results.”

Tammy Everts sums up the main points really well in this video for Radware (the company behind WebPerformanceToday):

Pingdom offer a great free tool to quickly test your site speed, and identify which scripts, images, requests are potentially slowing your site down:

Google also offer a free tool, PageSpeed Insights:

It gives a bit more in-depth advice on how to fix any/all problems they find, along with a score out of 100.

Feel free to share your results in the comments below, along with any major issues you are facing.

[1] New Findings: State of the Union for Ecommerce Page Speed and Web Performance [Spring 2015]

[2] How Website Speed Actually Impacts Search Ranking,