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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 02, 2013

Page load speed cost British online retailers $14 billion in 2013

Online retailers in the UK stand to lose out on billions in revenue due to websites with slow loading pages, according to new research from Summit.

by Helen Leggatt

Analysis of page load times among the UK's top 230 retail websites (Hitwise/Retail Week) found that the vast majority had page load times that fail to meet the industry's 3-second benchmark.

The research, carried out by online marketing and ecommerce specialists, Summit, reveals that, for retailers turning over £10 million (US$16 million) online, the lack of speed could cost them as much as £1 million (US$1.6 million) In 2013, slow load times cost UK retailers £8.5 billion (US$14 billion).

According to Hedley Aylott, CEO of Summit, page load speed is often talked about purely in technical terms but this research is the first that aligns speed with loss of revenue.

"We've exposed the cost of slow websites to British retail," said Aylott. "There is significant revenue to be recovered by making your sites work faster. In some cases this amount could be enough to open a brand new store."

Bearing in mind the 3-second benchmark, average load times across all retailers in all industries were:

Home: 4.11 seconds
Search: 4.08 seconds
Category: 4.25 seconds
Product: 5.20 seconds

In November, a survey of UK shoppers found that 70% will be put off spending their Christmas budget online by poorly designed websites. Among the 1,000 British adults surveyed by PEER 1 Hosting, one of the problems most likely to turn them away was slow page load times.

What can retailers do to up page load speed? The most obvious solution is to first reduce and optimize images and limit rich media to those elements that are enhancing the customer experience. Other ways to instantly improve page load speed include cleaning up unused tracking code, review and clean up code and review hosting structure.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: page loading, retail, UK, website design, website optimization

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