Slow Sites Costing E-Commerce Dollars

Slow download times, the bane of an online shopper’s existence, may be costing e-commerce merchants more than $4 billion in sales each year, according to a report by Zona Research.

Zona’s report “The Need for Speed” found that more than one-third of Web users may simply give up trying to buy an item over the Internet when frustrated with an online shopping experience. These frustrations could result in as much as $4.35 billion in US e-commerce sales being put at risk each year, the report found.

With the advancement of technology, the increase in Web traffic, and the desire to place more visually appealing content on Web pages, slow download times are posing a sizeable economic risk, according to the report. The standard for Web page download times is 8 seconds, according to Zona.

“We estimate approximately $362 million dollars in e-commerce revenues could be at risk of being lost each and every month because of the impact of unacceptable download times,” said Jack Staff, Zona’s Director and Chief Economist. “The projections of our model show these losses could significantly impact the future of e-commerce if online consumers become so frustrated they revert to shopping at traditional brick-and-mortar stores or decide not to purchase online. Online companies need to develop strategies and tools to avoid these potential lost sales opportunities.”

Additional findings of the study include:

  • 44.1 million people in the US are online shoppers
  • 37.5 million people will become online shoppers in the next 12 months
  • Shoppers with slow 14.4kb modems represent a loss in e-commerce sales of $73 million each month
  • $58 million a month in e-commerce sales is lost each month due to Web page loading failures
  • $3 million is at risk monthly in the securities trading industry due to unacceptable download times
  • More than $2.8 million is at risk monthly in the online travel and tourism industry due to unacceptable download times.

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