Image showing different speed of a boat

How Fast Is Fast Enough? Mobile Load Times Drive Customer Experience And Impact Sales

Time is money!” used to be the command companies followed to boost their productivity and increase profits. Fast forward to a mobile-first world where research firm eMarketer forecasts a whopping 86.2% of the 3.75 billion Internet users worldwide will use a mobile phone to go online by end-2019, and the same maxim is the imperative companies must obey to improve the customer experience and drive sales. 

Ironically, webpages have become bloated at the same time that mobile-first consumers demand experiences that reduce friction and deliver instant results. So, what’s driving what Machmetrics, a company that offers a cloud-based website speed monitoring solution, calls the “Website Obesity Epidemic?” It depends. It may be video, it may be images, it may be script—or it may be a combination of all of the above. But there’s no lack of consensus that companies have to do more to trim the fat.

Speed equals revenue

The stakes are high. A slow loading page on a mobile device doesn’t just try consumers’ patience. It can be the customer experience ‘fail’ that costs you a sale. This is the key takeaway of the 2019 Page Speed Report from Unbounce, a company specialized in building high-converting landing pages and popups for marketing campaigns. The study, which explores the attitudes of 1,150 consumers and businesses, finds that page speed is a deciding factor in purchasing behavior. 

Specifically, nearly 70% of consumers say page speed impacts their willingness to buy. What’s more, a slow loading time also lessens chances they will return in the future. A breakdown of the data reveals 22% of shoppers said they would close the tab and 15% said they would visit a competitor’s site and 12% would tell a friend about their negative experience, Unbounce’s VP of Product Marketing Ryan Engley said in an interview with Small Business Trends. As Engley sees it: “Companies who not only make page speed a priority this year but benchmark their speeds against their competition will be ahead of the game a year from now.”

These findings dovetail with renowned research from cloud services provider Akamai. Its 2018 State of Online Retail Performance revealed that conversion rates decrease drastically as page load times increase. For example, the data shows that when mobile site load time increases from 1 second to 3, conversion rate reduces by half and bounce rate increases by 6%. Conversion rates continue to decline sharply from there. “It is imperative that online retailers invest resources to ensure web and mobile pages load fast,” the report concludes.

This article first appeared on Forbes.

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