Apparently, if you run a top e-commerce website, it pays to be slow. Unless you’re Amazon.
The load times of the top 2000 online retailers is down 22 percent in the past year, according to a study released today by web app delivery and security provider Radware.
And the more money you make, the slower you are.
“This is a massive drop in performance,” Radware VP Joshua Bixby said in a statement. “If this slowdown rate goes unchecked, we will see median load times of 9 seconds or more, which is simply unacceptable for online shoppers.”
The median or most common load time for retailers’ home pages was 7.25 seconds, which is up from 5.94 seconds in the previous year’s study. Those slow speed can cost retailers up to 9 percent of their traffic and as much as 13 percent of sales, says Radware. And the top 100 e-tailers’s web pages loaded in an even slower 8.23 seconds.
Radware says that pages webpages are getting bigger. In December 2012, the average page was over a megabyte — 1163 kB — while in December 2010, the average page was only 665 kB. That’s 75 percent bigger, and at this rate, web pages will be over two megabytes by the end of 2014. Internet access speeds aren’t keepin gup.
In addition, web pages are getting more complex, with dynamic elements, multiple scripts, and resources pulled from multiple servers in multiple locations from multiple vendors. Radware says that the average top retailer site contains seven third-party scripts for services such as analytics, social media, and ad engines. Each of them can slow down a website.
Three simple things can improve performance drastically, says Radware: using a content deliver network (CDN) to deliver pages from geographically-distributed servers, enabling keep-alives to reduce handshake time between browsers and servers, and compressing text to send data quicker. But 75 percent of the top 2000 retailers do not use a CDN, 13 percent don’t use keep-alives, and 22 percent don’t compress webpage resources.
Interestingly, despite getting a bad rep for its big pages, Amazon is a top retailer that is reversing the trend of slower pages. Amazon.com loads in 3.26 seconds, faster than last year and in the top ten retailers for speed.
Top 10 retailers by site speed:
- CVS.com (1.02 seconds)
- Polo.com (1.9 seconds)
- eCrater.com (1.95 seconds)
- Abebooks.com (2.05 seconds)
- BHPhotoVideo.com (3.03 seconds)
- JCrew.com (3.15 seconds)
- Amazon.com (3.26 seconds)
- ShopAtHome.com (3.74 seconds)
- Etsy.com (3.88 seconds)
- Gamefly.com (3.94 seconds)
And more data, in visual form: