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Online retailers fail to meet shoppers’ mobile performance expectations: report

November 8, 2013

Urban Outfitter's mobile site launches in 3.41 seconds

With mobile shoppers increasingly expecting fast load times for retailers’ sites, a new report from Radware reveals that the retailer sites with the fastest load times on mobile are, and

The report, “2013 State of the Union: Mobile Ecommerce Performance” also found that performance varies widely among smartphones, with a median load time of 3.06 seconds for the Samsung Galaxy Note and 11.35 seconds for the iPhone 4. A key takeaway is that despite the significant growth in mobile commerce, the majority of online retailers are still failing to meet customers’ demand for pages that load in four seconds or less.

“The takeaway here is that site owners need to understand that serving a stripped-down version of their pages isn’t a magic bullet for performance,” said Tammy Everts, web performance evangelist at Radware, Mahwah, NJ.

“Page size is only one performance challenge,” she said.

“There are other challenges, such as latency and download speed, both of which can be extremely inconsistent on mobile devices.”

Four-second threshold
Site load times on mobile for both and Urban Outfitters are within range of what consumers are looking for at 2.06 seconds and 3.41 seconds respectively.

However, the other retailers filling out the list of the 10 fastest ecommerce sites on mobile all had load times above the four-second limit that consumers are looking for.

For example, JCPenney came in at 4.08 seconds.

The remaining retailers on the list are: at 4.41 seconds, at 4.65 seconds, at 4.79 seconds, at 4.79 seconds, at 4.97 seconds, at 5.10 seconds and at 5.27 seconds.

For the report, the top 100 United States retail Web sites were tested over a 4G connection using the native browser on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The iPhone 4s had a median load time of 7.74 seconds, the Samsung Nexus 7.51 seconds and the Samsung S3 4.59 seconds.

Additionally, the iPad 2, iPad 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 were tested over a Wi-Fi connection using their native browsers, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 serving pages 33 percent faster over Wi-Fi than the iPad 2

These results point to the importance of the need to for retailers to test performance across a range of devices.

Full site access
As mobile adoption and use continues to grow, consumers’ expectations of the mobile user experience are more demanding yet slow pages are the No. 1 user complaint around mobile sites. By not meeting those demands, retailers are missing out on an increasingly important opportunity to drive sales.

Radware’s study measured and tracked the performance of the top 100 U.S. retail Web sites – both the full and mobile versions – across several mobile devices.

Key findings include that the median page loads in 7.84 seconds for a full site. Only two out of 100 sites loaded in less than four seconds, while 20 sites took more than 10 seconds to load.

The median mobile site took 4.33 seconds to load. While this was 44 percent faster than the full site, it is still short of mobile users’ stated load time threshold of four seconds.

Other key findings include that while the number of mobile sites is growing, one in five do not allow visitors to access the full site.

The report found that 80 percent of retailers have a mobile-specific site, up from 76 percent in 2012. Of these, 79 percent offer a link enabling consumers to view the full site while 21 percent do not offer full site access.

“Site owners lose out by denying full-site access to mobile users,” Everts said.

“One of our ecommerce clients analyzed their mcommerce revenue and found that their full-site shoppers spent four times more than those who shopped via the and mobile app: 79 percent of their mobile revenue was generated by shoppers visiting the full site on their devices, while only 14 percent of mobile revenues came via the, and 7 percent via the mobile app,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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