October 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

E-commerce sites slow down

Retail web page load times are on the rise because of media-rich pages.

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The median page load time for e-commerce sites viewed on Internet Explorer 9 is 9% slower than last year's median, according to data from web optimization company Strangeloop Networks Inc. For the second view of a page, which is often faster since most web browsers, including Internet Explorer 9, temporarily save some files, median load time was 15% slower than in 2011. For retailers, this means business: studies show that page load times affect site views, customer satisfaction and conversions.

Strangeloop's report measured web performance in July among the top 2,000 e-commerce web sites as ranked by web analytics vendor Alexa Internet Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc., on a simulator that mimics the browsing experience of users around the world. It found that today's web pages make a median of 77 server requests to deliver all the content meant for the page, up 5% from 73 in 2011. In other words, web pages have more content on them, and that makes them load more slowly.


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