Every eCommerce business wants to deliver an exceptional user experience. The better the experience, the more likely consumers will stay on your site and make a purchase. Consumer expectations are ever-evolving, and in today’s connected world, website speed is a critical factor in determining whether someone will stay and buy or abandon your site.
The importance of optimizing for website speed
We’ve written a lot about the importance of website speed and how page load times impact an eCommerce website’s SEO, traffic, and revenue. We’ve also covered the expectations consumers have developed for digital experiences. In fact, 70% of consumers say that a website’s speed impacts their willingness to buy.
Consumers today have an 8-second attention span and feel anxious while waiting for pages to load. Ericsson researchers found that waiting for a page to load has the same psychological discomfort as watching a horror movie. Not only do consumers prefer speedy page loads, but so do search engines: Google’s algorithm favors sites that load quickly, ranking them higher than slower sites.
But optimizing for speed is tricky. The tags, trackers, and scripts that personalization, marketing, and analytics depend upon, are also what adds to page load times. Fortunately, modern web technologies have evolved to deliver site speeds previously impossible. These are eCommerce Progressive Web Applications (PWAs), Single-Page Applications (SPA), and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
Modern technology breaking down top eCommerce websites
We at Layer0 (now Edgio) are on a mission to give shoppers back the trillion seconds they waste each year waiting for websites to load. We take speed seriously and pride those in the industry who have set benchmark standards for others to follow.
We’ve analyzed real-user data from Google’s Chrome User Experience Report and found the fastest eCommerce websites in verticals varying from apparel to automotive, toys to travel, education to health, and many more. This month, we showcase the top 20 apparel, shoes, and accessories retailers for website speed.
eCommerce benchmark leaders and statistics in apparel
Last year, apparel eCommerce sales grew by 18.5% to represent just over a third of U.S. apparel sales. If your site doesn’t load fast, you’re giving your competitor’s instant-loading website the opportunity to rise in the ranks.
The apparel, shoes, and accessories category, included 3,151 eCommerce websites visited by American mobile shoppers. The distribution of site speed was varied, with the fastest website seeing a whopping 82.5% of its pages loading in under a second and the slowest websites having 0. The average share of sub-second pages stands at 22.2%, with a standard deviation of 15.1%, representing a great deal of diversity within the apparel sites and what speeds they can deliver.
Here are the 20 fastest eCommerce websites in apparel, shoes, and accessories:
The 20 fastest apparel sites average 64.4% of pages loading in under one second. This sets the bar high for the entire apparel, shoes, and accessories vertical. Interestingly, sports apparel and bridal retailers represented 8 out of the top 20 fastest sites. If you’re in these markets, then look out — your competitors are creating a standard that everyone must follow.
Ranked at number one, Wedding Shoppe delivers 85.5% of its pages in under one second. This family-owned bridal retailer has one of the largest bridal salons in the country and has been awarded on local and national levels, including Outstanding Retailer of the Year. Its mission is to create happiness…well Wedding Shoppe, you delight customers with impressive site speeds!
Venus Fashion is the second fastest site to load for mobile shoppers in the US. Venus.com exemplifies what speed looks like with an eCommerce Edge PWA, delivered on Layer0. Venus went from 15.25% of its site pages loading in under a second to 80.83% of pages loading in under a second for American consumers in July 2019. If you want to know what instant feels like, use your phone to go to: www.venus.com/.
Fanatics, the global leader in sports merchandise, is another leader to note as it powers four of the websites ranked, including Fanatics.com, Fansedge.com, Dunhamsfanatics.com, and Lids.com. Together, this multi-domain commerce averages at 59.74% of its pages loading in under a second, with a 2% difference between the bottom three sites. Fanatics has proven itself to be nothing but consistent when delivering sub-second eCommerce websites.
Chanel and Victoria’s Secret are other noteworthy names to make a list with, and Fila and Windsor are just shy of making the cut. These companies know how to deliver an exceptional experience that keeps customers coming back for more.
Brand names losing with slow website speeds
Name brands we all know and love sometimes do not deliver the speeds that you’d expect. For instance, Kate Spade, Barney’s, Neiman Marcus, and Eddie Bauer all have less than 15% of their website pages loading in under a second on mobile. And although Prada, Coach, and Hermes find themselves higher on the list, with 33% of their pages loading in under one second, this is just half of what the top 20 are doing. The biggest brand names overlook one of the best investments a company can make today: delivering instant loading websites on mobile.
Here are 20 brand name domains that have fallen short:
Site speed matters. Today’s consumers seek fast, engaging, and personalized online experiences. To remain competitive, you must invest in website speed optimization to provide a seamless experience from landing through checkout. Those who recognize this today will find themselves at the front of the competitive eCommerce race tomorrow for years to come.
But delivering a nearly-instant and engaging experience requires intelligent technology for advanced caching and predictive prefetching. And essentially, site speed is a full-stack problem that spans the browser, edge (CDN), and server and requires a solution that optimizes all layers to get you to instant loading websites.
The largest database-driven already trust us, enterprise eCommerce companies, including Shoe Carnival, AKIRA, Kate Spade and TurnKey Vacation Rentals, just to name a few, consistently enjoy big wins. If you’d like to see your name on top of the list of the fastest sites, schedule a consultative conversation to see how Layer0 can get you there.