Retailers are underestimating big revenue losses due to slow-loading web pages, research says

Video report by Summit

Retailers could be losing out on millions of pounds of revenue as a result of slow-loading web page, according to research.

A study conducted by online marketing and e-commerce specialists Summit estimated that the entire UK online retail sector will have lost out on as much as £8.5bn this year because retailers are failing to meet the industry’s three-second page load benchmark.

Summit conducted the research by looking at 230 leading retailers’ websites and found that 92 per cent were not meeting the three-second benchmark while some pages took as much as eight seconds or more to load.

Hedley Aylott, CEO of Summit, said: “Everyone talks about website speed, but only as a technical issue; this is the first time it has been aligned to loss of revenue.

“We’ve exposed the cost of slow websites to British retail. 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.”

The report estimated that a retailer with turnover of £10m online could be losing as much as £1m in revenue because of consumer impatience with slow-loading web pages.

On average across all retailers looked at in the study, home pages took 4.11 seconds load, search functions took 4.08 seconds, category pages took 4.25 seconds and product pages took 5.20 seconds.

The findings add to research from previous research from Aberdeen Group, which showed that a one-second delay in page response could lead to a seven per cent reduction in conversions, an 11 per cent decrease in the number of pages viewed and as much as a 16 per cent decline in customer satisfaction.

Summit’s research found industries across the board were affected by the problem, although the travel sector stood out more favourably with 20 per cent of sites meeting the benchmark average.

In retail, Fenwick, Fortnum & Mason, Fraser Hart, Freemans, Hobbs, Jessops, Timpson and Zara managed to stay within the three-second page-load target.

Summit offers an e-commerce performance checker tool for businesses to track how quickly their site pages respond.

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