Website Delays Cause Customer and Revenue Drop-off, Despite Strong Popularity of Online Retail Promotions

Borland website performance tool reveals website traffic impacts of seasonal website promotions

30 December 2013

Annual sales promotions running over the post-Christmas and New Year period generated significant consumer interest and enthusiasm, but analysis from Borland, a Micro Focus company, shows that many retailer websites were unable to cope with the associated increase in traffic.

Using an advanced in-house website performance tool based on Silk Performer technology, Borland identified an overwhelming correlation between sales-generated traffic rises and increases in website response times – a nightmare situation for any retailer hoping to capitalize on the seasonal online rush of bargain-hunting consumers., the UK arm of the Rakuten Group, saw performance drop by 500% as its site slowed from a load time of 2 seconds to 12 when site traffic peaked on the 4th January. Other online retailers that also suffered significant increases in load times during the first few days of the January sales included John Lewis,, and Increases ranged between 3 and 4.5 seconds for their landing page to load.

Research has shown that even minor delays to website response times can have a sizable impact on customer satisfaction, page views, conversion rates and site abandonment:

A one second delay in website response time equals:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • 7% loss in conversions

The average online shopper expects web pages to load in 2 seconds or less, after 3 seconds, up to 40% will abandon the site

74% of users will abandon a mobile site after waiting only five seconds for it to load

Once visitors leave, it’s very difficult to get them back. 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience

A one second increase in Amazon’s page load would annually cost $1.6B in sales

38% of UK online shoppers abandon websites or apps that take more than 10 seconds to load

“There is lots of data available showing that users are losing patience with poor performing websites,” said Archie Roboostoff, product director at Borland. “It looks like a number of the sites monitored over the seasonal period will have missed out on potential revenue as a result of their website’s inability to process high levels of traffic. The sites we monitored in the UK had normal load times averaging 2.9 seconds, but saw load times increase by an average of 4.5 seconds during peak traffic periods – a 55% deterioration. Developing a robust performance strategy takes time, and peak period preparation should begin early with testing starting about six months beforehand. Putting in this groundwork is crucial if retailers are to take full advantage of peak shopping times throughout the year.”

Commenting further, Roboostoff said: “Clearly this is an issue that online merchants need to get a handle on. Online commerce is growing across channels, and smartphone adoption is on the increase around the world. The latest Ofcom International Communications Report shows that 58% of UK consumers now own smartphones, and that 23.1 percent of these smartphone users use their device to visit retail websites. Retail brands increasingly depend on a strong multichannel presence, and seasonal promotions provide a great opportunity to market to new audiences. However, poor website or app performance now has the potential to reduce revenue and damage brand reputation.”

IT and Marketing Need to Work Together,

The Borland website performance data makes a clear case for marketing and IT departments to work together to ensure systems are able to deal with the traffic increases generated by seasonal promotions. Online retailers such as that had periods where demand slowed load times beyond the 10 seconds that users typically tolerate will have almost certainly lost business to rivals with better performing sites.

“Marketing departments at the likes of should really be asking their organization’s website owner why they were not prepared for the post-Christmas rush,” said Roboostoff. “Sites need to adapt to changing traffic patterns, and testing needs to replicate real-world online activity – something many monitoring tools are unable to do.

“When conducting performance and load testing, it is important to simulate a mixed balance load, replicating a variety of devices, protocols and browser types across an extended period of time,” added Roboostoff. “This approach allows system elements to be isolated to ensure they are fulfilling their purpose. By generating this granular insight, ecommerce merchants can adequately prepare for peak site traffic, improving end-user experience, increasing conversions, and ensuring marketing campaigns deliver the maximum return on investment. Consumers are redefining what ‘instant’ means – attention spans are getting shorter and brand loyalty is increasingly fragile. As this marketplace continues to evolve, ecommerce merchants cannot afford for website performance to let them down.”

Notes to Editors

Borland’s advanced in-house website performance tool based on Silk Performer technology is available to customers. For more information contact Borland on: 0800-58102130 or click here.

About Borland,

Originating in 1983, Borland Software Corporation is a world-class provider of requirements, test and change management solutions. As part of Micro Focus Ltd, a member of the FTSE 250, Borland offers tools that are open, agile and work across the entire Application Development Lifecycle to enable customers to build better software, faster. For additional information please visit

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