Seconds matter. When it comes to the digital user experience, a couple of seconds separates winners and losers. Among the best-performing ecommerce websites, the gap is even smaller. Catchpoint’s Q1-2016 Ecommerce Web Performance Benchmark identified the quarter’s best-of-the-best, showing how fast the top sites in the US were and identifying what the winners had in common. Based on webpage load times, these are the brands that the rest of the industry is chasing:
- Best Buy
- The Home Depot
Every one of these sites took less than two seconds from the URL request to the browser triggering the “onload” event. They shared a broad set of best practices. Most loaded the bulk of their third-party content after webpage load, eliminating key external dependencies that impact the user experience. All use CDNs to accelerate the delivery of static content. And all were geographically consistent, delivering the same impressive speeds from wherever customers accessed the sites.
There was also a clear correlation between page size and speed. The lightest pages in the rankings, with less than 2,000 total downloaded bytes (<2 MB) loaded in roughly 2 seconds (2,250 ms). Pages between 2 MB and 4 MB averaged a full second longer (3,390 ms). Those over 4 MB took nearly 4 seconds to load (3,780 ms). Studies have found that a significant percentage of shoppers are long gone before the slowest of those pages load. Balancing the benefit of added functionality against the rising expectations of increasingly impatient consumers is critical to ecommerce success. Most of the top performers in the Catchpoint Benchmark ranked among the lightest pages in the group.
In addition to page sizes and webpage load times, Catchpoint’s Q1-2016 Ecommerce Web Performance Benchmark ranks the top performers in DNS, wait time, response, and render start to provide a complete picture of the elements of performance. Unsurprisingly the highest ranking sites tend to outperform the rest of the field in multiple areas.
All rankings, methodologies, and the complete benchmark report can be downloaded here: Ecommerce Web Performance Benchmark: Q1 ’16