Want to Beat the World’s Top E-Commerce Sites? Here’s How Fast Yours Should Load.

March 12, 2018

Mobile websites in the retail sector take more than twice as long to load as they should, per recent Google benchmarks. But how about the top 100 e-commerce players’ desktop sites? Pingdom tested the top e-commerce sites based on visitor count, and provides some insights.

A quick word on the methodology: Pingdom said that it tested each of the pages from its nearest test location so as to be able to provide the optimal load times. Where possible, it tested local US sites. Pingdom’s tool tested each site every half-hour for a week during the latter half of January 2018. All results below reflect the median of all tests conducted.

Keep in mind that unlike the best practice load time of 3 seconds on mobile, 2 seconds is a more appropriate benchmark for desktop sites.

Here are some quick stats on load times for the top 100 e-commerce sites:

  • Some 39 met the benchmark of 2 seconds or less;
  • That includes 7 that loaded in less than one second;
  • The majority (62) loaded in 3 seconds or less;
  • Virtually all (99) loaded in under 6 seconds; and
  • The average load time among the sites was 2.67 seconds.

The fastest site was bhphotovideo.com, which loaded in less than half a second (0.468 seconds). Walgreens was next, at 0.522 seconds, followed by dsw.com (0.744 seconds).

The overall average was dragged down by yoox.com, by far the slowest with a load time of almost 10 (9.67) seconds.

In fact, the second-slowest (underarmour.com), at 5.9 seconds, was closer to the average than it was to yoox.com.

So if you’re keeping count, if your site loads in under 2 seconds, you’re doing better than the majority of the top 100 e-commerce sites.

Average Page Size

There was a fairly wide distribution of page sizes among the homepages tested, though the vast majority stayed under 4MB. Almost 8 in 10 were in the 1-4MB range, with 5 under 1MB and 9 at least 5MB in size.

The average of 3.03MB is fairly consistent with the average 3.6MB size on US mobile sites found by Google in its recent test.

Interestingly enough, while page size seemed to have an affect on load time for mobile sites tested by Google, Pingdom’s analysis found that it didn’t necessarily have an impact on performance. Or at least, it wasn’t the only factor. That’s because some heavier pages were quicker to load than lighter pages.

Mango.com had by far the heaviest homepage, at 14.21MB, almost double the size of the next-largest, crateandbarrel.com (7.84MB).

Website Requests

The number of website requests followed a rather normal distribution, averaging 192 across the set of sites, with the 151-200 range being the most common (24 sites).

For comparison, in its test of mobile retail sites in the US (not necessarily top sites), Google found the average request count to be 147.

Overall, 6 in 10 sites tested by Pingdom had 200 or fewer requests. The site with the highest number of requests was saksfifthavenue.com, with 660, followed by kohsl.com, with 623.

By contrast, petsmart.com had the smallest request count (45), the only to come in under 50.

The full analysis can be found here.

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