In March of this year, application delivery and security provider Radware reported that the median load time for the top US retail websites was 7.25 seconds, more than four seconds over the optimal three-second load time. Radware’s latest study reveals that the median load time for the same group of websites was even slower in June, measuring 7.72 seconds, a 13.7 percent drop since Spring 2012.
Not only are load times slowing down, but Radware’s newly introduced Time To Interact (TTI) metric offered further evidence that retail website performance is moving in the wrong direction.
Measuring the time it takes for a page to display its primary interactive content, Radware claims TTI, “…is considered by many within the performance community to be a more meaningful indicator of a pages ability to deliver a satisfactory user experience to a visitor.”
Evaluating the homepages of the top 500 retail websites ranked by Alexa.com, Radware discovered only eight percent of the top 100 sites maintained an ideal two-second TTI, with the median TTI at 4.9 seconds. Nine-percent of the websites had a TTI time of eight seconds or more.
In a statement accompanying the report, Radware web performance evangelist Tammy Everts claims, “Fifty-seven percent of consumers will abandon a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.”
According to Radware:
A site that loads in three seconds experiences 22 percent fewer page views, a 50 percent higher bounce rate, and 22 percent fewer conversions than a site that loads in one second, while a site that loads in five seconds experiences 35 percent fewer page views, a 105 percent higher bounce rate, and 38 percent fewer conversions.
“Retailers don’t realize that they are losing customers by neglecting core practices,” says Everts.
To improve page load and TTI times, Radware encourages site owners to defer rendering “below the fold” content, as well as defer loading and executing non-essential scripts. (“Poorly optimized scripts for advertisements, social media widgets, or anlytics support can block a page from rendering, sometimes adding precious seconds to load times.”)