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Slow loading websites a turn off for UK consumers

Slow loading websites a turn off for UK consumers
Wednesday May 23 2012

Slow running and unreliable websites are still a major gripe for British Internet users, causing over a third of customers to never come back, according to new research.

The study, from 1 and 1 Internet, With 71 per cent of UK web users regularly inconvenienced by slow running websites, they continue to cause negative emotions.

The extent of consumer annoyance is hardly surprising when we consider the average Briton estimates that they waste 9 minutes every day, or 2 days a year, waiting for slow websites to load. As a result, 1&1 advises UK firms that choosing a fast and robust hosting provider has never been so important.

1&1’s ‘Need for Speed Survey’ finds that most UK web users are still regularly inconvenienced by slow running websites. Over half (59 per cent) see large variations in the speed and reliability of the websites which they use.

The data suggests that consumers have felt little improvement since 1&1 last conducted the study exactly 5 years ago, which found a wastage of 10 minutes per day. As in 2007, the citizens of Northern Ireland remain the most affected.

A total of 78 per cent of consumers have felt negative emotions as a result of a slow or unreliable website. Women appear more affected by related stress or anger, 34 per cent as compared to 27 per cent for men. On average 31 per cent of Britons admit that related stress or anger has increased over the past 5 years. Half of consumers believe that websites have either not improved in speed or have become slower over the past 5 years.

Doubts over whether a slow online transaction has been successful are experienced by 44 per cent of UK consumers. Whilst men may suffer less emotionally, they are perhaps more judgmental on the issue. Some 42 per cent of men and 35 per cent of women have decided not to use a company again as a result of an overly slow website.

The strength of consumers' reaction is indicative of their awareness of what slows websites down. Over the past 5 years, 37 per cent of web users believe that they have become better able to judge whether a website is running more slowly than it should. Respondents point to more attractive designs and more complex features as contributing to slow loading speeds. Only 1 in 4 web users believe that the websites they use are getting faster each year.

Oliver Mauss, CEO 1&1 Internet, said: “There is no doubt that slow loading and unreliable websites remain an inconvenience to many. Whilst consumers can ensure their own super fast connection, if website owners do not host their sites effectively, the web experience will suffer. Consumers appreciate the benefits felt from industry-leading connectivity and geo-redundancy offered by large web hosts like 1&1”.

It appears that Britons are more affected than some other Europeans. In Spain, only 60 per cent complain of slow running websites, and the average time wasted is slightly better at 8.5 minutes every day. German web users appear to have a faster experience. In Germany, only 44 per cent complain of slow running websites, and the average time wasted is lowest at 5.5 minutes per day.

Mauss added, “Consumers have never been so aware and unforgiving of slow running websites. If a website does not meet their expectations, users will switch to an alternative. Firms must be aware that their choice of hosting provider has never been so important. Those that fail to leverage the fastest possible bandwidth and most reliable hosting platforms risk losing revenue and reputation”.
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