The price of slow websites: businesses could be missing out on up to £28.4 billion this Christmas


Online operations are the backbone for thousands of businesses both large and small in the UK, especially around the holiday season, withonline spending predicted to hit £24.1 billion between 1st November and 31st December, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

While many will splash out on an intuitively designed website that’s both functional and aesthetic, plenty will forget the huge impact that website loading times can have on your business. But just how much money could you be losing out on from your site taking as little as 1 second extra to load?

Domains and hosting provider Fasthosts have compiled available data to determine how a slow website could impact businesses, highlighting the importance of taking it into consideration when creating your site!
A world of averages
To begin to work out the sales lost through slower websites, first we need to know the averages to use as a baseline. The main ones to consider here are:
Average spend per online order - £86.49
Average desktop/mobile load speed - 2.5s/8.6s
Another extremely important set of averages that will be vital for these calculations is average conversion rates per second:
1 second = 3.05%
2 seconds = 1.68%
3 seconds = 1.12%
4 seconds = 0.67%
The Findings
By using this data, Fasthosts calculated an average amount of sales for a small-medium size business with 10,000 site visitors per month for each second it would take a page to load:
1 second = £26,379.45
2 seconds = £14,530.32
3 seconds = £9,686.88
4 seconds = £5,794.83
You can immediately see the impact that just a single second can have on your business, with the difference in conversion rates between one and two seconds leading to a drop in sales of a staggering £11,849.13. By the 4 second mark, there’s an immense difference of £20,584.62 - over £20,000 in sales lost because of a 3 second difference. These are only the results over a month, so you can imagine the scale of losses over the course of the year, especially around Christmas when heavy website traffic can lead to longer load times.
A site with 10,000 monthly visitors that takes 4 seconds to load could be missing out on £247,015.44 a year when compared to a site that only takes 1 second to load.
Looking at the average desktop load time of 2.5 seconds, this would make the average monthly revenue of a site around £12,108.60; £2,421.72 less than if the site was just half a second faster. We live in a world where the average time spent on an ecommerce page is 53 seconds and a few seconds can lead to thousands of pounds being missed out on, so it’s safe to say that speed should be a huge priority when designing or optimising your website
Thinking big and going back to the £24.1 billion online spend this festive period, if we take the 2.5 second average load speed for sites on desktop, in theory if every site loaded at the optimal 1 second then this value could be £52.5 billion, £28.4 billion higher than the actual amount. Of course one site losing out on a sale due to a slow load doesn’t mean there’s not going to be a sale at all. Often it will instead be transferred to a competitor who has a more optimised site - however over time those lost sales can add up to values that could make or break your business, especially one that operates on a smaller scale.
While all of the data used and presented is based on averages and so the actual amount that could be lost due to slow speeds will vary hugely from business to business, to say that a slower website will lead to fewer sales is an understatement. For an ecom business to really thrive, they need to ensure that their site is quick, intuitive and efficient - otherwise they may as well be directing potential customers straight to their competitors.

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