Publication date:11-03-2021

How website speed affects your sales

It is well known that site speed affects the user experience on your website. But how exactly and by how much? Does a Slower Website Really Mean Money Lost? There have been multiple studies, including internal research, showing that site speed affects both conversion rate and product sales. An analysis was done based on e-commerce and conversion data from various websites on more than 26,000 sales pages.

Research method

For the data on the value divided by the number of pageviews, we looked at just over 94 million pageviews across 10 ecommerce sites. The critical stats:

  1. We created a 30-day snapshot
  2. The sessions per website ranged from 39,000 to 718,000 and above
  3. Three of the sites were B2B e-commerce. The rest was B2C
  4. The sites ranged from major national fashion brands to small niche manufacturers


Here are our findings when comparing site speed and conversion rates:

  1. A loading time of 0-4 seconds is best for conversion rates
  2. The first 5 seconds of page load time has the greatest impact on conversion rates
  3. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with every additional second of loading time (between 0-5 seconds)
  4. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 2.11% with every extra second of loading time (between 0-9 seconds)

The following is an overview of our results and how you can capitalize on opportunities.

Site speed has increased on all sites and in all industries

This survey shows that 78% of web pages have a loading time of 5 seconds or less, and 22% a loading time of 5 seconds or more. In comparison, when this survey was last conducted (by another party) in 2014, 50% of sites had an average load time of 5+ seconds. More than double the number of websites in the loading time of more than 5 seconds has increased their site speed and reduced the loading time. As overall site speed increases, website users will have a lasting expectation of faster load times.

To improve target conversions on your website: aim for a load time of 0-4 seconds

Conversions from target conversions based on user behavior on websites tend to be faster than e-commerce conversions on websites. Internet behavior conversions have a lower threshold to complete than transactions.

Although overall target conversion rates are higher than transaction rates, the decline in conversions is much greater. When pages load in less than 1 second, the average conversion rate is close to 32%. With a loading time of 1 second, the conversion rate already drops to 20%. After 2 seconds, the conversion rate starts to level off at 12-13% and reaches the lowest after a load time of 5 seconds.

After the 5 second load time, there will be a return to +10% conversion rate for subsequent page load times. However, the drop-off has already lost time and potential user conversions. And the biggest improvements in conversion rates are recorded when the site loads between 0 and 2 seconds.

To improve transaction conversions: aim for a loading time of 0-2 seconds

Zero to 2 seconds sounds amazingly fast. But when website users are accustomed to fast web loading times, slower sites will be penalized when visitors abandon the site visit in favor of a faster website to make a transaction.

The highest conversion rates for e-commerce occur between 0 and 2 seconds, with an average of 8.11% conversion rate for e-commerce in less than 1 second, up to a conversion rate of 2.20% for e-commerce after a loading time of 5 seconds. After that, conversion rates are well below 2% (except for the 7-second anomaly, which briefly returns to 2.11%).

Between 0 and 5 seconds, the e-commerce conversion rate drops by an average of 1.2% for every second it takes for your website to load. But we're seeing a consistent correlation between pages loading faster and more ecommerce conversions.

Quick math to further demonstrate this point:

  1. If 100 people visit your website for a €50 product, this can illustrate the difference in your potential earnings:
  2. A loading time of <1 second at a conversion rate of 8.11% results in €405.50
  3. A loading time of 1 second at a conversion rate of 6.32% results in € 316.00
  4. A loading time of 2 seconds at a conversion rate of 4.64% results in € 232.00
  5. A loading time of 3 seconds at a conversion rate of 2.93% results in € 146.50

In the span of ~4 seconds, potential sales have dropped by just over $250. Multiply that by more visitors to the websites and potentially more expensive products and services, and that results in significant gaps in potential revenue.

Some pages are more important than others

This is hardly news anymore, because you already know this, but faster checkout, login and homepages are the most important. After that, the loading speed for product category pages has the most impact on sales. All of these pages have a lot to do with consumer intent. It is easy to make decisions about this. So no matter how long it takes you: make the website fast!

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