Chart - Retail Website Load Times

Between December 2011 and 2012, the median load time for home pages of top North American retail sites (the Alexa Retail 2000) slowed 22% from 5.94 to 7.25 seconds, finds Radware in a new report. The top 100 sites fared even worse, with load times slowing from 6.4 seconds to 8.23 seconds in that time span, a 28% difference. The researchers attribute the slowdown to increasing page size and complexity, also pointing out that many of the Alexa 2000 sites are not employing best practices for core performance.

For example, only one-quarter use a content delivery network (CDN), 13% fail to implement keep-alives, and 22% fail to compress resources. Among the top 100, 78% used a CDN, 99% enabled keep-alives, and 91% compressed page resources.

The overall slowdown in page load times come despite expectations that faster browsers, networks, and devices enable a speedier online experience, with research showing that a majority of PC and tablet owners expect a site to load in 3 seconds or less (though smartphone owners are a little more flexible). Read the rest at MarketingCharts.