FREE REPORT: 2012 State of Mobile Ecommerce Performance

3 October 2012  -   Tags: ,

The median web page takes more than 11 seconds to load for both Android and iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is faster than the new iPhone 5, and LTE is faster than 3G -- but not by as much as industry experts have claimed.

These were among the findings in our latest report, the 2012 State of Mobile Ecommerce Performance. Hot on the heels of our quarterly state of the union for desktop ecommerce, this is the world's first study to measure the mobile user experience over 3G and LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks.

The State of Mobile Ecommerce Performance is based on tests measuring the page load times of 200 leading ecommerce sites, as ranked by Alexa.com, over 3G and LTE. The tests were conducted in July and September 2012 on six devices: the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, iPad 2, and Samsung Galaxy tablet. 

Highlights of our key findings include:

  • iPad beat the Galaxy tablet on 3G performance, while the Galaxy S3 phone surpassed the iPhone 5 on LTE. Over 3G, pages loaded 22% faster on the iPad than on the Galaxy tablet. Over LTE, pages loaded 9% faster on the Galaxy S3 than on the iPhone 5.
  • The median home page took 11+ seconds to load on both iPhone and Android over 3G. At 11.8 seconds for the Galaxy S and 11.5 for iPhone, the median 3G load times for the two most popular mobile operating systems were 40% slower than the median desktop load time (7.1 seconds).
  • LTE was 27% faster than 3G, but fell short of industry claims. Some industry experts have stated that LTE networks are, on average, 10 times faster than 3G. The average load time for pages on 3G was 11.7 seconds, compared to 8.5 seconds for LTE -- a significant difference but not of the magnitude predicted by LTE proponents.

Our CEO, Jonathan Bixby, has this to say about these results:

"While LTE networks have improved mobile performance, pages are still far too slow. The latest mobile user surveys tell us that two out of three mobile shoppers expect sites to load in 4 seconds or less. A page that takes 8.5 seconds to load over LTE is still falling short of user expectations."

We also found some serious usability issues with how site owners are serving pages to their mobile customers. For example, one-third of companies served a stripped-down "m.site" to the Galaxy tablet, despite the fact that tablet owners expect the same online experience on their tablets as they do on their desktops. And 32% of site owners don't give mobile shoppers the option to view the full site. 

In the United States, there are an estimated 115 million mobile users online in 2012, and that number is expected to grow to 176.3 million by 2015. By 2014, mobile internet usage is expected to overtake desktop. By 2015, Cisco estimates that there will be 788 million people worldwide who go online exclusively through their mobile devices.

Download a free copy of the 2012 State of Mobile Ecommerce Performance.

See the full set of infographics that accompany this report: How Fast Do Sites Really Load for Mobile Users?