Speed as Competitive Advantage

In the United States alone, ecommerce has grown at an average rate of  15% year over year for the past five years. In 2014, online sales blew past the $300 billion threshold for the first time. By 2018, that number is projected to surpass the $400 billion mark (Figure 1-1).

Figure 1-1. By 2018, ecommerce in the US is projected to hit $400 billion per year

As most of us know, however, all that money isn’t just lying on a table waiting to be scooped up. The online marketplace has become a crowded, hypercompetitive space, and site owners are on constant lookout for anything that will give their websites an advantage. Site speed isn’t always top of mind for many, but optimizing page load times is arguably the most straightforward way to differentiate a site from the competition.

In user survey after user survey, site speed has emerged as one of the greatest factors in determining an individual’s satisfaction with a website (second only to security). Almost half of all online shoppers say they will abandon a page that takes more than 2 seconds to load.

In a traditional brick-and-mortar scenario, abandoning one store for another requires leaving the outlet and physically travelling to the waiting arms of the competition. On the Web, competitors are just a couple of clicks away.

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