Everyone hates slow loading websites, and a new survey highlights just how damaging a slow site can be to the user experience.

The study by Brand Perfect found that two thirds of UK consumers (67%) cite slow loading times as the main reason they would abandon an online purchase.

It’s a topic we’ve looked at in more detail in our post 'Site speed: case studies, tips and tools for improving your conversion rate', with stats showing that slow loading websites are losing businesses up to £1.73bn a year.

The second most common reason for basket abandonment is difficult navigation or problems finding a product (50%), followed by too many steps when trying to purchase goods (40%) and not being able to gauge the size of products (36%).

A third of respondents (33%) said that being forced to register was a key reason for basket abandonment, yet a number of major online retailers still fail to offer a guest checkout option.

In fact, ASOS managed to reduce it basket abandonment by 50% by removing any mention of registering, even though new users still have to set up an account during the checkout process.

Brand Perfect’s survey also asked what would improve the online shopping experience. The top three requests were:

  • Safer (61%)
  • Easier to navigate (57%)
  • Faster (52%)

This shows that despite the fact e-commerce is no longer a new way of shopping, people are still concerned about security issues.

As such, retailers need to make sure they are providing reassurances during the payment process, particularly on mobile checkouts where research has shown that security fears are a major barrier to adoption.

Finally, Brand Perfect’s research also asked respondents which of the top 10 UK retailers offer the best online experience, taken from Interbrand’s Best Retail Brands 2012.

Bizarrely, the overwhelming winner with 62% of the vote was ‘Other’. Tesco came second with 18%, followed by Argos (15%), John Lewis (10%) and M&S (8%).

I suspect that a large proportion of the respondents who selected ‘Other’ would have stated ‘Amazon’ had it been an option.

Brand Perfect’s research is based on an online survey of 1,568 UK consumers.

David Moth

Published 6 December, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (6)

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

Interesting that so many (36%) were concerned about
> not being able to gauge the size of products

Maybe this indicates the survey was not done on regular retailers, but those with unusual products?

David - have you a URL to the study source - I couldn't see it on the Brand Perfect site ?

Or maybe 'size' was referring to clothes' sizing ?

Slow loading websites lose sales : Interesting to hear that theme again, it's what I spend my time addressing on a range of sites.

It's often surprisingly easy to make a big difference: once you find the specific users journeys that have problems.

Too often Marketers when they give attention to speed, tend to focus on just a few pages in isolation: home page, product page etc: and have missed out speed problems that only occur as users flow through important Journeys like Checkout.

over 5 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

@Deri, I'm afraid I don't have a URL, I was sent it as a PDF. Maybe try contacting Brand Perfect.

over 5 years ago


Neil Ayres

Hi Deri.

You can view the research report in full here (requires registration): http://bit.ly/bposrrr

The retailers surveyed were all major high street brands and included John Lewis, Next, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Argos and Debenhams. We repeated the research in the US too. Full details can be found in the report.

Thanks for the post, David.

Best wishes,

over 5 years ago

Emma North

Emma North, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

Great post, thanks David. I think too many brands are starting to assume that the user is used to and trusting of online shopping when the reality is many clearly still expect to be made to feel safe before they commit. I also am not surprised to see so many people put off by the need to register since reading the story of the $300 billion button: http://www.uie.com/articles/three_hund_million_button/.

Retailers still need to take the same measures they always did to make users feel safe and make the checkout process as streamlined as possible.

over 5 years ago


Charles Nicholls

This is interesting data, but I’m going to be a bit pedantic and take issue with the way that you’ve written it up. It’s a bit misleading.

“67% cite slow loading times as the main reason they would abandon an online purchase” is the misleading part. The problem here is in the list of potential answers given did not include the major reasons why customers don’t buy: Price (incl shipping) and timing (ie not yet ready to buy). Multiple studies, including Forrester’s, have found these to be the biggest causes of shopping cart abandonment.

If your article and headline were to say ‘67% cite slow loading times as the top usability problem causing shopping cart abandonment’ then you would be more accurate.

Sorry to be nit picky!

over 5 years ago



Oh the irony of No.5 being 'requires registration', yet viewing the report requires registration! ;)

over 5 years ago

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