Warning: Slow Mobile Site Speed Causes More than Customer Rage

We’ve all been there. You’re shopping on your favorite store’s mobile site, snapping up the latest two-hour deals left and right. You’ve got everything you need (and probably a few things you don’t). You’re ready to head to checkout and …. nothing. The page won’t load.

The irritating loading icon is going round and round, but your page is blank. After an excruciatingly long minute you throw your phone down in frustration and say forget it. You didn’t need that super cute bag and three pairs of perfect pumps anyway. Or did you?

For mobile shoppers, slow load times are the kiss of death. We expect that mobile sites are going to load quickly and perform correctly – just like they do on our desktop or laptop – and when that doesn’t happen we have little patience for it.

Just how thin is that patience? The graph below (kindly provided by this great article on Web Performance Today), shows how aggressively people will react to slow load times on mobile websites:

That graph was produced using data from a recent study done by Harris Interactive on behalf of Tealeaf. This study’s complete findings actually reveal that rage-induced reactions are the least of your concern.  Why? The percentage of customers having issues with mobile sites is much higher than it should be, and these issues are costing businesses big time.

How great is the impact of slow mobile site load times? This should give you an idea:

  • Four in five (about 84%) U.S. adults who have conducted an online transaction via a mobile device in the last year report experiencing a problem.
  • A whopping 63% say they would be less likely to buy from the same company via other channels if they experience a problem conducting a mobile transaction.
  • Surprisingly (or not), 47% of customers actually expect the experience of conducting a mobile transaction to be better than the experience in-store, and 85% expect the experience to be better than or equal to using a laptop or desktop.

These stats outline trends that are showing up more and more often across the ecommerce industry. Another study, done on behalf of Gomez, Inc., by Equation Research, (Why the Mobile Web is Disappointing End-Users) reveals that mobile users’ expectations have risen dramatically since 2009. Below are a couple key comparisons to illustrate.

Percentage of users who expect a site to load as quickly on their mobile device as on their desktop:

  • 2009: 58%
  • 2011: 71%

Percentage of users who will bounce after waiting just five seconds for a mobile site to load:

  • 2009: 20%
  • 2011: 74%

Since users are expecting more and more from their mobile shopping experiences, companies that want to be successful will rise to meet these demands – and exceed them.

Need to get your mobile site up to speed (or just get one set up, period)? See Jonathan Levey’s “Google Introduces GoMo Initiative” or Fathom’s mobile e-commerce resources. Also, check out some of these helpful sites:




*Image provided by Impact Communications, Inc.

*Graph provided by article on Web Performance Today, entitled “Phone Rage”: How People React to Slow Mobile Sites


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