The biggest UK retailers sites are still lagging behind on mobile- and that’s bad news for Black Friday when more than half of sales are set to be made on smartphones. Dave Anderson, web performance expert at Dynatrace, looks at the stats…
We’ve been testing the websites of some of the biggest UK retailers in the run-up to Black Friday, and it looks like they’re pretty well-prepared for the onslaught of bargain-hunters this year. Whilst they took over four seconds to load fully, on average the sites became interactive within just 1.5 seconds on desktops and two seconds on mobile devices. This is what really counts from the user’s perspective, determining how quickly they are able to start clicking and browsing on the site, regardless of whether there are still banner ads or social media widgets loading in the background. Sainsbury’s was the standout performer, with an average interactive site load time of just 0.3 seconds on desktops and 1.2 seconds on mobile devices.
Looking at the data more closely, we can see that shoppers may get a marginally better experience using their laptop or PC as opposed to a tablet or smartphone. With 0.5 seconds between the two, that might not seem a huge difference, but a report we released earlier this year found that a time-lag of that duration can lead to an 11% drop in sales conversions, so retailers can’t afford to ignore it. Mobile performance will be particularly important for retailers this Black Friday, with forecasts from IMRG suggesting that consumers will spend £6.77bn through tablets and smartphones.
The key to maximising performance and maintaining that consistently during times when a website comes under excessive load from enthusiastic shoppers is to keep it light and tight; especially so for mobile sites. The simpler the website, the less content the user has to download and the faster they can start shopping, which ultimately is the name of the game. Our data shows that retailers seem to have realised this; their mobile sites are smaller than their desktop versions, with lower object counts and fewer hosts. This is all good news for Black Friday shoppers and shows that retailers are learning the lessons of their past mistakes.
By Dave Anderson
Web performance expert