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Customer Behaviour

Over 80% of consumers are more frustrated by consistently slow websites than those that are temporarily down. That’s according to a global online study today from Eggplant, the customer experience optimiSation specialists.

Eggplant polled a combined total of 3,200 UK and US adults on attitudes to website speed and performance and found that a business with a slow or underperforming website is likely to lose 73% of its customers to a competitor. While outages are a problem for businesses around the world, the survey reveals that a slow website is much more damaging than one that is temporarily down. To stay competitive and retain customers, retailers must focus on website speed alongside website availability.

UK findings

81% of Brits find a slow website more frustrating to use than one that is down or not working. In fact, 7 in 10 (70%) of UK adults rate website speed as important when it comes to online activity. Of this 81%, a third (33%) said website speed was very important, while only 17% said speed was not important at all.

The online research also found that three quarters (75%) of Brits would be likely to use a competitor website if the one they were using was slow. This is especially important for brands who commoditize based entirely on price such as tickets, hotel and travel sites.

When it comes to UK consumers, site speed is so important that almost 3 in 5 (60%) feel much more negative to a brand if its site is consistently slow to load. This is in contrast to less than a quarter (23%) who feel the same way if a site is down or not working. However, nearly half (49%) of consumers feel slightly negative towards a brand if its website is not working.

US Findings

Across the board, US consumers have the same sentiment to website speed vs. downtime. Only slightly down on the UK, 79% of Americans find a slow running website more frustrating to use than one that is down or not working. In fact, 41% of American adults rate website speed as very important when it comes to online activity. Like the UK, only a tiny proportion (1%) said that website speed was not important at all.

Americans would be fractionally less likely than those in the UK to move to a competitor if a site was slow, with 69% stating they would move (compared to 75% in the UK). Alongside this, 24% of US consumers stated they would eat less than half a doughnut before giving up on a website and moving to another.

When it comes to American consumers, site speed is so important that well over half (59%) feel much more negative to a brand if its site is consistently slow to load. This is in contrast to less than a quarter (23%) who feel the same way if a site was temporarily down or not working.

Responsive, fast websites are a crucial part of business success worldwide, or organizations risk losing customers to competitors. When it comes to preparing for the peak retail period, website speed is even more important than availability, and businesses need to be ready.

“This goes to show that when it comes to business performance, slow websites are a silent killer. This is especially true in an age of instant gratification — the two-second attention span and quick social media retaliation at anything less than full performance. Today, speed, connectivity, and an outstanding user experience are critical to ongoing business success, and while customers will forgive and forget the odd bug, crash, or period of site maintenance, they will not tolerate a site that doesn’t move at the speed they’ve become accustomed to.”

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