100-millisecond delays can impact online revenue: Akamai Report

Akamai Online Retail Performance Report: Web Performance Analytics Show Even 100-Millisecond Delays Can Impact Customer Engagement and Online Revenue

Akamai Technologies announced the release of the latest State of Online Retail Performance report, a biannual study that analyzes performance metrics for leading retail websites. The report was previously issued by SOASTA, acquired by Akamai in April 2017.

The data, gathered by SOASTA (now part of Akamai), represents one month’s worth of anonymous user data from top online retailers, equating to approximately 10 billion user visits.  The team applied data analytics to generate insights into the intersection of IT, business, and user experience metrics.

Access to an extraordinary amount of user data, as well as the ability to correlate that data with key performance indicators helped create the only report of its kind in the industry. The Online Retail Performance Report delivers insights into how web performance affects consumers and, ultimately, online businesses. The report explores the “magic number” for page load times and the impact of one-second performance improvements – or slowdowns – on conversion and bounce rates, as well as impact of performance on session length.

“Since my days as Executive Director at I have seen how e-commerce businesses are impacted by performance challenges, yet struggle to identify and treat the root cause,” said Scott Silverman, co-founder of GrowCommerce and the Global e-Commerce Leaders Forum. “This research clearly shows the link and provides a methodology for retailers to systematically assess and address those issues.”

At the highest level, the data indicates that website performance is critical to maintaining customer attention and completing online transactions. Specific findings include:

  • Half of consumers browse for products and services on their smart phones, while only one in five complete purchases using those phones
  • A 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7 percent
  • A two-second delay in web page load time increase bounce rates by 103 percent
  • 53 percent of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load
  • Bounce rates were highest for mobile phone shoppers, while tablet shoppers had the lowest bounce rate

The report is rooted in the e-commerce market’s ongoing drive towards faster web performance. Online retail benefits from delivering better customer experiences, especially on mobile devices, and the State of Online Retail Performance report offers insights into what makes a superior online buying experience.  The report identifies ways that high-performance web pages are different from poorly performing pages, looks at third-party scripts and other outside factors that can impact performance, and provides the reader with practical, actionable guidance on how they can compete in an ever-changing e-commerce landscape.

“Results from our State of Online Retail Performance report have shown that user experience is critical to e-commerce success, and things aren’t getting any easier,” said Ash Kulkarni, senior vice president and general manager, Web Experience Division, Akamai. “Customers have extremely short attention spans, and degradations in website performance – no matter how small – can cause consumers to go elsewhere in an instant. Sharing our findings about performance gives online merchants the actionable data they need to stay competitive.”

In addition to making the State of Online Retail Performance report available for download, Akamai will host a free webinar on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time that addresses a number of topics related to the report, including how page speed affects user engagement and conversion and the causes of most common performance issues. Online commerce experts from Akamai and Walmart will also explore how leading retailers are optimizing promotional campaigns, and the panel will look at enhanced tools as a way to go beyond traditional web analytics solutions.

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