Survey: Consumers will abandon slow websites

Detroit A survey released late Wednesday by Gomez, the web performance division of Compuware Corp., found that a significant portion of U.S. consumers will quickly abandon websites that perform slowly.

According to the independent survey “When Seconds Count,” 32% of consumers said they would start abandoning slow sites between one and five seconds.

The vast majority -- 84% -- said they are only willing to try a slow performing website a few times before giving up. And 39% said speed is more important than functionality for most websites, while only one in five rank greater site functionality as more important.

Mobile users valued speed as well. The survey found that a third of all web users are also using a mobile device to access the Internet, and more than half of those mobile users expect websites to load as quickly, almost as quickly or faster on their mobile phone, compared with the computer they use at home.

Regarding website performance, the survey found that 67% of users encounter a slow-performing website a few times a week or more, and that 37% said they would not return to a slow site. More than a quarter (27%) said they would likely jump to a competitor’s site.

For mobile web users, slow website load times and poor formatting are the top two issues encountered on the mobile web.

More than 80% of users said they have been unable to accomplish their tasks -- such as completing a purchase or a financial transaction -- on a specific website at least once. Nearly half (47%) said they have frequently abandoned sites where they couldn’t finish their tasks in the past three months.

“When web users encounter web or mobile site performance problems, their patience and loyalty run thin,” said Matt Poepsel, VP performance strategies at Gomez. “However, many companies fail to realize that seconds really do count because their customers refer to best-in-class web performers like Facebook, Google and Yahoo! as a measuring stick or standard for determining how fast all sites should be.”

Gomez retained Equation Research to conduct this survey. Interviews of 1,004 mobile web and mobile users were conducted between from June 25 and June 29, 2010.

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