E-commerce Sites are Getting Slower

In July and August of 2012, Strangeloop tested the load time of the home pages of 2,000 leading e-commerce sites, as ranked by Alexa.com. It turned out that median pages load was 9% slower than it was a year ago!

In comparison with November 2011, the median load time to a home page in the Alexa Retail 2000 using Internet Explorer 9 has been decelerated by 9% for first-time visitors and 18% for repeated visitors.

Alexa Retail 2000 e-commerce sites

The Alexa Retail 100 sites have suffered even more – the average load time has been slowed down by almost 10% for first-time visitors and by nearly 13% for repeated views.

Alexa Retail 100 e-commerce sites

So you can obviously ask – why are pages getting slower? Strangeloop singles out 3 reasons:

1. The number of page resources has increased by 5%
In 2011, the average page of the Alexa Retail 2000 required 73 server requests for page objects such as images, JavaScritpt, and CSS files. Less than one year later that number has increased up to 77 requests.

2. A great number of sites are still not following core performance best practices
Keep-alives and compression are two of the easiest-to-implement techniques available to site owners, yet 12% of the Alexa Retail 2000 sites failed to implement keep-alives and 30% failed to use compression.

3. CDN use has not increased significantly
Of the 2,000 sites tested, 23% use a content delivery network, an increase from 405 in November 2011. But the vast majority of ecommerce sites still do not use a CDN to cache static resources closer to their users.

According to the recent social research, 64% of dissatisfied online shoppers said they were less likely to visit a slow retailer again, 62% were less likely to purchase from the site again, and 48% would purchase from a competitor. The percentage is rather high to ignore the load time of your website pages.

We at aheadWorks conducted our own study and found out how to provide the pages loading speed within 0.1 – 1 second with the load of 20 competitive requests. Basing on the results of this research, we created an “Optimizing Magento Performance” PDF Guide. It is in FREE access, so you can improve your website performance not to get in this sad statistics!

P.S. It would be great to learn the loading speed of your home page. Share this info in comments and let’s see whether the numbers in this post are close to us 😉

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