ZeroLag E-commerce Performance Index, June 2014

Testing of 500 top e-commerce sites provides key performance benchmarks

Slow web pages aren’t merely annoying to customers – it’s well known that poor e-commerce site performance results in lower customer conversion rates, which can show up on the bottom line as lost revenue.

e-commerce hostingAs e-commerce applications have become more sophisticated and feature-packed, led by the innovations of like industry leaders like Magento, server resource demands have also ratcheted upwards.

But what does optimal e-commerce performance look like? That question comes up frequently in our discussions with online merchants looking to maximize their return on investment in e-commerce technology, marketing, and operations.

To provide a more objective answer to that question, we set out to produce real-world benchmarks e-commerce merchants can use to gauge the relative performance of their web sites. We tested the top 500* e-commerce sites using proven performance testing tools, and then compiled and analyzed the resulting data.

How did the top 500 e-commerce sites perform?

Although several frequently cited studies seem to indicate that online shoppers prefer web sites which have page load times of two seconds or faster, less than 10% of leading e-commerce merchants measure up to this standard. However, a narrow majority – 53% – of the top 500 e-commerce sites ZeroLag tested offered page load times of 3.5 seconds or less.

What can aspiring online merchants take away from ZeroLag’s tests?

Although the 500 largest e-commerce operators may benefit from the considerable resources at their disposal, they face the similar challenges as smaller online merchants when it comes to optimizing their web sites and extracting the best possible performance from their hosting environment. As the results of our testing show, two of the primary drivers of performance, page weight and the number of HTTP requests, have an outsized influence on overall page load speed, and performance improvement efforts should begin with these two factors.

Get the June 2014 ZeroLag E-commerce Performance Index now

The full results of our tests, including benchmarks for three key performance factors – page load time, page size (weight), and number of HTTP requests, are available in our free whitepaper – click here to get it now.

* Internet Retailer Top 500 2014