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Commerce is shifting year to year from physical retail stores to eCommerce shopping via mobile or desktop computers. It is increasingly important to provide the growing number of online customers with an optimal and expeditious retail experience. Slow loading pages often drive customers to competitors’ sites due to their frustration with the time takes to complete their purchases. In order to accurately assess the loading time of a page, it is essential to test your site often on a variety of devices, browsers, and connection speeds.


While mobile eCommerce is certainly skyrocketing, desktop purchases still make up the majority of all eCommerce sales. Particularly during the holiday months, consumers are trending towards staying in their homes and making their holiday purchases via desktop. According to comScore:

  • US Holiday desktop eCommerce sales were up 15% in 2014
  • US retail eCommerce spending via desktop computers totaled $35.4 billion for the first 38 days of the 2014 November-December holiday season
  • Desktop traffic accounted for 54.8% of all online traffic in 2014 and 77.3% of all online salesCyber Monday in 2014 resulted in $2.038 billion in eCommerce sales via desktop

comscore- graph


Mobile eCommerce is becoming increasingly relevant, yet as a whole is poorly optimized for performance. The best way to improve mobile performance is to test your site often on a variety of devices, browsers, and connection speeds. According to research released by Radware:

  • 55% of all time spent on retail sites takes place on a mobile device
  • A 500ms connection speed delay results in up to a 26% increase in peak frustration and up to a 8% decrease in engagement
  • Abandonment rate for mobile shopping carts is 97%, compared to 70-75% for desktop carts
  • Negative mobile shopping experiences result in 43% of consumers going to a competitor’s site next


Mobile Expectations

Despite the poor performance of mobile websites and apps user expectations remain high. Consumers expect optimal performance out of their mobile devices when loading pages. Users do not care about the factors that limit mobile performance; as far as they are concerned, that is our problem to fix:

  • 85% of mobile users expect pages to load faster or as fast as desktop pages
  • Almost half of mobile users expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% of users will abandon a pages that takes over 3 seconds to load
  • For an on smartphone over 4G/LTE: 4.8 second median load time on iPhone 5s, 7 second median load time on iPhone 4s
  • For a full site on smartphone over 4G/LTE: 11 second median load time on iPhone 5s, 15 second median load time on iPhone 4G


Mobile Users Trending Toward Websites over Native Apps

According to SOASTA’s Tammy Everts, for every $7 of mobile-generated revenue, $5.50 (79%) of the revenue came from mobile shoppers using the full site, $1.00 (14%) of the revenue came from the, and $0.50 (7%) of the revenue came from the mobile app.

While many organizations have invested enormous resources building proprietary mobile apps, the data shows that users clearly prefer to shop through a browser. For online retail, 87% of people prefer shopping on websites and mobile sites, while only 4% prefer mobile apps for shopping.

Why is this? On the consumer side, native apps require individual mobile downloads for shopping that can eat up already precious disk space on increasingly crowded mobile devices. For the retailer, there are major concerns with native apps including high development prices, difficulty maintaining multiple platforms, and revenue sharing with the platform owner (such as Google or Apple).

Impact of Poor Performance

General web performance and speed is crucial to eCommerce to maximize sales and attract customers back to the same site. In particular, long and slow checkouts are a significant source of lost sales:

  • 44% of all online shoppers say that slow online transactions make them anxious about the success of a transaction
  • 51% of online shoppers in the US say that site slowness is the top reason they would abandon a purchase
  • 46% of online shoppers cite checkout speed as the #1 factor that determines whether or not they will return to a site
  • Total cost of abandoned shopping carts for online retailers has been estimated at over $18 billion per year; 18% of that can be attributed to slow pages (over $3 billion in lost sales) on US eCommerce sites


As mobile commerce continues to grow, web page speed and performance for retailers are getting worse. Despite this trend, customer expectations remain as high as ever and performance remains a core factor for high customer satisfaction and return rates.The best way to improve mobile performance is to test your site often for a variety of devices and locations. A notable amount of page weight comes from 3rd party assets that could be reducing page speed. Although mobile eCommerce has significant limitations such as network speed, and an increasing variety of hardware, consumers expect webpages to perform just as well (if not better) on a mobile device as on a desktop.

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