Australian shoppers are waiting an average of 9.4 seconds for a website homepage to load this Christmas, compared with their US and UK counterparts who are experiencing average site response times of 3.8 and 3.9 seconds respectively.
At this point in the peak Christmas shopping period, the five slowest Australian retailers are averaging a homepage response time of 16+ seconds, with very low levels of availability and inconsistent response times. All of these factors add up to a poor user experience and flies in the face of industry data that says if a retailer reduces site response times from eight seconds to two seconds, then they will see a 74 per cent increase in site conversions.*
On the flip side, consumers looking for a super efficient online shopping experience can dial up the top five performing retail sites in Australia – Apple, GraysOnline, Myer, eBay and Amazon – serving an average response time of 2.9 seconds, 99.4 per cent availability and exceptional site performance consistency. These results meet international consumer benchmark that says a retail site must load in three seconds, otherwise 50 per cent people will abandon and shop elsewhere.
The data comes from global digital performance monitoring company, Dynatrace, who’s been tracking the homepage response times of hundreds of retailers across all major countries, every 10 minutes for the last 12 months. Locally, the company has been watching the performance of Australia’s 30 largest retailers, ranking their Christmas site performance across a range of browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome) from within data centre backbone locations in Melbourne and Sydney, plus running ‘last mile’ performance testing from thousands of real user PCs.
Dave Anderson, head of marketing in APAC for Dynatrace, explains, “Last mile’ testing gives a crystal clear view into how retail sites are actually performing for real end users and often paints a more sombre picture than data centre results. For example, when we look at the real user PC results for the entire local retail group, the average homepage response time looks more like 12.5 seconds – as opposed to 9.4 seconds. Unfortunately, the local results are slow whichever way you look at them and puts Australia firmly at the bottom of the global site performance ladder.
“Australia’s lag in performance is concerning but presents a big opportunity for local retailers to measure response times more closely and link it back to revenue. Take a leaf out of Nordstrom’s book – it has measured that a mere 0.5 second slow down in site load time equates to an 11 per cent reduction in site conversion. This is precisely where local retailers need to focus internal conversations: looking at site performance and how it impacts revenue. Otherwise, they’re choosing to leave money on the table.”