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Performance is King in the e-commerce world

Some of us remember when Amazon introduced the concept of online shopping to the masses, sparking countless debates around the water cooler: How long would Amazon last? Would customers buy in to the idea of purchasing goods on a computer, sight unseen? How would this impact brick-and-mortar stores? Which would survive? While some of these questions have been answered, for others, the jury is still out.
Fast-forward to today and it's tough to imagine a world without online shopping. Black Friday, traditionally the biggest brick and mortar shopping day of the year, has an arguably more popular counterpart in Cyber Monday (Black Friday is also equally significant for online shopping, if not more). Today's consumers are not only used to online shopping, but they are more demanding than ever before, because in the world of e-commerce, competition is fierce.

To better understand consumer behavior, Akamai commissioned the Consumer Web Performance Expectations Survey. The survey sought insights into market dynamics to help determine the quality of online shopping experience retailers need to provide to satisfy potential customers. The results are significant. Simply put: Performance Matters.

Of the 3,487 survey participants, 18% expect an instantaneous response from e-commerce sites. Furthermore, 30% of consumers expect load times of one second or less -- a far cry from the mere 5% we reported in 2009. Finally, nearly half of consumers expect pages to load in two seconds or less.

Instant Page Load Expectation.jpeg Another point of interest -- mobile users are more likely to wait patiently (56%), compared to 53% on tablet and 44% on desktop. This disparity can likely be attributed to consumers being accustomed to poor mobile web experiences. That said, the mobile web is changing rapidly. Consumers are more connected than ever before across a host of mobile devices and networks. The consequences for online retailers are real. With companies like Google factoring the "mobile-friendliness" of a site into search results (mobile sites that aren't mobile-friendly face lower rankings), e-commerce companies must offer mobile experiences that are faster, and consistent on any type of mobile devices.

The ubiquity of mobile devices is a trend that will continue to gain momentum. Reuters tells us the average household with 2 teenage children has 10 connected devices, a number set to increase 5x by 2022, to 50 devices per household. One of the most important data points that puts the business impact of performance and its effects on revenue comes from the Aberdeen group. If a site averages $100,000 a day in revenue, a one second delay costs $2.5 million in sales each year. The reality is clear: consumer impatience, and retailers' inability to meet their expectations, can be costly.

For more on consumer trends and deep dives into performance expectations, head over to www.akamai.com/perfmatters to download the latest Performance Matters Report.