KPIs & Performance

How page load speed affects your business performance

May 24, 2021

In the world of digital commerce, there are a few metrics that matter more than others. And some that we tend to focus too much on. In this blog post we'll explore how webpage load speed affects three crucial e-commerce KPIs.

Conversion rate & Page load speed

For years, research has consistently shown that website performance, and especially page load speed is directly correlated to conversion rate. A website visitor is more likely to click the Buy button and complete checkout on fast-loading pages. The faster the page load speed, the higher the conversion rate.

Some recent figures:

  • 70% of consumers say page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an e-tailer
  • Pages load in less than 1 second have an average conversion rate of almost 32%.
  • Pages loaded in 2.4 seconds have an average conversion rate of 1,9% 
  • Pages loaded in 3.3 seconds: 1.5% conversion rate
  • Pages loaded in 4.2 seconds: less than 1% conversion rate
  • After 5,7 seconds: 0.6% conversion rate
  • After the 5 first seconds of load time, conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second

page-speed-statsSources: Cloudflare, Hubspot

Conversion rate is one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that the entire e-commerce team should keep track on, and constantly work to improve. As you can see from the numbers above, optimizing page load speed will pay off in terms of conversion rate, but the benefits don't stop there.

The multiplier effect on traffic and average order value

When you optimize your page load speed, you are also pleasing Google in terms of search ranking. Page load time is a variable in the ranking algorithm, so the faster the page loads, the higher your site will rank in Google searches. This means that you will also get more traffic to your site. More traffic AND higher conversion rates is a lucrative combination for any e-tailer.

But there's still more benefit. The reason for higher conversion rates when pages load faster boils down to better User Experience. And the better the user experience on a site, the more willingness to stay there. The modern consumer has no patience at all, time is precious. But if pages load really fast, and don't test visitors' patience, they will spend time on more product pages - and put more products in their shopping cart. This is why page load time also affects the Average Order Value.

The faster the page loads, the higher your site will rank in Google searches.

Technical performance vs perceived performance

On the topic of User experience, let’s remember that great technical performance doesn't always correlate to a great experience. It’s very easy to be blinded by raw numbers and and only measure raw response times from the server, and nothing else.  But performance is not just an IT thing.  You need to take a holistic view, and consider the perceived performance for the end user. The time it takes for a database query to be completed can be really short, but the developer might have injected three versions of a Javascript library that completely slows down the site, so the perceived performance is terrible for the end user.

In short: make UX and a solid architecture a priority, to make sure that your site is optimized for your customers, and not only for Google's algorithms.   


How to use KPIs to define your e-commerce strategy and operations

The metrics we mention above, Conversion Rate,  Traffic and Average Order Value should be the guiding stars in the daily operations for your entire e-commerce team. You can use these KPIs to decide on tactics, set the goals for a new e-commerce project and to help you decide if new trends are relevant to your specific business goals. But how do you do that? Find out in our webinar about KPIs: