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Were e-tailers up to speed on this year's Christmas internet shopping?

Were e-tailers up to speed on this year’s Christmas internet shopping?

This statement will strike a chord with most web users: Three Seconds Is Too Long to Load a Website …

Proving that time is indeed money for e-tailers, some startling figures have come to light to show just how fast the web must be to keep up with demand and how short people’s fuses now are. Too late for Christmas 2013, but the next one is not far away.

We are a generation of the time-poor, ever-more impatient people and 84% of us went online to look for presents and ideas for presents.

The average predicted online spend for Christmas 2013 will turn out at £200 per person. Confirmed figures could be more or less than that. But if it’s near enough accurate, that means something approaching £12bn online spend this season, as it was £6.85bn in 2011.

Figures Peak Louder Than Words

Taking stats from Business Cloud, a handout from UKFast in conjunction with the Sunday Telegraph (November 2013), look at these:

  • For 50% of us, 2 seconds is the ideal customer patience load time for a commercial site
  • at 3 seconds, 57% of visitors abandon the effort
  • the average page load speed is 7.72 seconds
  • Only 8 of the top 100 sites have a time to interact time (TTI) of two seconds
  • 9 of them take as long as 8 or more seconds to TTI
  • Underperforming websites lead to customer dissatisfaction and negative publicity across social media
  • Load times of less than a second increase sales
  • A delay of 1 second decreases customer satisfaction by 16%
  • 80% of internet users who have a bad experience with a site do not return
  • 66% of UK shoppers said they would abandon a purchase through site slowness
  • Last Christmas Day 46% of all search traffic for all retailers came from mobile devices
  • yet 45% of e-tailers do not have a mobile-optimised website

And on the Second Day of Christmas?

According to Internet Retailing (admittedly December 2012) via Chloe Rigby, ‘The biggest online selling day of the year is still to come, according to forecasts from the IMRG and Experian Hitwise, who predict that as a nation we’ll be spending 17m hours checking out ecommerce sites on Boxing Day. eBay, meanwhile, says we’ll also be putting our unwanted gifts up for sale that day.’

She went on further, ‘There were 126m visits to retail sites on Boxing Day alone, as UK consumers spend a combined 17m hours shopping online. That’s 31% up on the same day in 2011, and 14m visits up from Cyber Monday.’

So that was 2011 figures predicted into 2012. Therefore you can multiply by a factor of perhaps 3 to come to close to the expected 2013 figures.

They urged marketeers to be sure their campaigns were ready in place to ‘maximise traffic on Boxing Day as consumers make the most of early sales offers: it’s not too late to promote special offers through email and social media. Understanding what people are interested in, the best channels to engage customers through and when to reach them will be crucial to success this season.’

This year they would surely advocate speed is the essence for websellers, besides being day and time aware. The post-Christmas season used to begin on Boxing Day. Now it begins on Christmas Eve, after the last click-and-collect orders are fulfilled, people are up for New Year bargains, returns and normal shopping online.

Not to mention those cash-savvy web users who start buying for next Christmas from the debris and remains of the last. And all instore, online or on the move.

Internet Retailing

Also look at, they will not take long to load:

Last Minute Shopping Tips For the Last Minute Desperate Shopper, 18 December 2013

Three New Internet Dangers Should Set Alarm Bells Ringing, 17 December 2013

Your Face When Shopping Is the Retailers’ Biggest Asset, 16 December 2013

Christmas Present Ideas If You’re Still Struggling About What to Get, 11 December 2013

A New-Think Checklist for Better Business Online, 11 November 2013

Happy 15th Birthday, Dear Amazon, Happy Birthday to You, 28 October 2013

Shopping Online or On-screen, People Still Have to Shop, So What’s the Problem? 17 July 2013

Death of the High Street in the Digital Age Is Over Exaggerated, 4 March 2013

Counting This Year’s Christmas Costs and Days Till the Next One, 26 December 2012

It’s the Season to Give Away Lots of Valuable Personal Data, 5 December 2012

Hidden Charges Are the Sting in the Tail of Online Shopping, 4 December 2012

Image: Sigismund von Dobschutz