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Radware Research Reveals eRetailers Fail to Deliver Satisfactory User Experience -- Despite Expected Growth of Online Shopping This Holiday Season

MAHWAH, N.J., Oct. 14, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Radware® (Nasdaq:RDWR), a leading provider of application delivery and application security solutions for virtual and cloud data centers, released new findings from two new studies, which aim to give eRetailers a "shopper's eye view" of how their webpages are actually seen by shoppers on desktop and mobile devices and how well their websites perform in real-world scenarios.

As eCommerce sales are expected to hit an all-time high of $72 billion dollars, many eRetailers will refine strategies to attract and retain customer attention. Leveraging techniques such as geo-targeted campaigns and social shopping programs that include high-quality images and video, only those that offer optimized performance to enhance user experience will be the most successful.

Radware's dual studies entitled "State of the Union: Ecommerce Page Speed & Web Performance, Fall 2014" and "2014 State of the Union: Mobile Ecommerce Performance," include valuable insights from Radware's analysis of the top 100 retail websites that helps answer what factors contribute to changes in web speed and best practices that could give retailers an advantage over their competitors.

Other key findings from Radware's reports on the top 100 retail sites include:

  • The median page is 19% larger than it was one year ago.
  • 22% of sites took 10 or more seconds just to be become interactive.
  • 2% took 20 seconds or longer to become interactive.
  • While images comprise 50% of the average page's total weight, 35% of sites failed to compress images, a technique that could significantly reduce payload and streamline page rendering.

Key findings from the mobile report include:

  • 81% of sites automatically serve an m-dot version of the home page to smartphones.
  • 20% of m-dot sites do not allow shoppers to access the full site.
  • 8% of the top 100 retailers serve a tablet-optimized version of their site to tablets.
  • Median load times varied across tablets, ranging from 5.7 seconds for the Galaxy Note to 8.1 seconds for the Nexus 7.

Radware's study explains that the average online shopper expects a web page to render in less than three seconds. However, analysis of the load times of the top 100 retailers reveals that the median home page on a desktop takes 6.5 seconds to render its primary content and 11.4 seconds to fully load. For the median m-dot page to load on the iPhone 5s, takes 4.8 seconds. Only 12% of the top 100 retail sites rendered feature content in fewer than three seconds on the desktop and 15% of full-site pages loaded in fewer than 4 seconds on the iPhone 5s.

"This holiday season, more consumers will be skipping the physical lines by shopping online," says Tammy Everts, senior researcher and performance evangelist for Radware. "In this report, we are giving eRetailers a 'shoppers eye view' of how their pages perform for shoppers in real-world scenarios while on their desktop or on-the-go, as well as tips and techniques they can use to correct potential performance pains before the shopping season begins."

Newly added to this quarterly report are predictions for the upcoming holiday season which will have a measurable impact on performance such as experimentation with geo-targeting campaigns to identify a shopper's location in order to serve highly specialized deals, content, and product offerings in local languages and currencies. In the mobile report, Radware highlights takeaways such as the importance in delivering a fast and consistent user experience across devices, in an emerging "mobile first" world.

"We are seeing an increase in the usage of video and high-resolution imagery that will give the site shopper a more immersive experience. As the increase of devices with retina display continue, so will the need for sharper and more detailed imagery, both of which can decrease page load times," says Kent Alstead, vice president of acceleration for Radware. "As images already account for half of the average page's total weight, conversion gains could be compromised by slow load times."

To access the "State of the Union: Ecommerce Page Speed & Web Performance, Fall 2014," which includes holiday predictions for web performance, visit: www.radware.com/fall-sotu2014

To access the "2014 State of the Union: Mobile Ecommerce Performance," which includes several takeaways for mobile performance, visit: www.radware.com/mobile-sotu2014

Infographics on the findings of page speed and web performance for desktop and mobile can be accessed here:

Desktop

http://www.slideshare.net/Radware/radware-sotu-fall2014infographic

Mobile

http://www.slideshare.net/Radware/radware-mobile-performance-sotufall2014infographic

Methodology

Desktop

The tests in this study were conducted using an online tool called WebPagetest – an open-source project primarily developed and supported by Google – which simulates page load times from a real user's perspective using real browsers.

Radware tested the home page of every site in the Alexa Retail 500 nine consecutive times. The system automatically clears the cache between tests. The median test result for each home page was recorded and used in our calculations.

The tests were conducted on September 22, 2014, via the WebPagetest.org server in Dulles, VA, using Chrome 37 on a DSL connection.

In very few cases, WebPagetest rendered a blank page or an error in which none of the page rendered. These instances were represented as null in the test appendix. Also, in very few cases WebPagetest.org rendered a page in more than 60 seconds (the default timeout for WebPagetest.org). In these cases, 60 seconds was used for the result instead of null.

To identify the Time to Interact (TTI) for each page, we generated a timed filmstrip view of the median page load for each site in the Alexa Retail 100. Time to Interact is defined as the moment that the featured page content and primary call-to-action button or menu is rendered in the frame.

Mobile

The test group included 100 leading ecommerce sites, as ranked by Alexa.com. Each site's home page (both the full site and the m-dot, when an m-dot was offered) was tested 10 times per device across the following devices:

  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPad 2
  • iPad Mini
  • Nexus 7
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

The median results were used in our analysis.

The tests were conducted over a four-week period, from July 25 to August 22, 2014.

The iPhone 4s and iPhone 5s were tested over a 4G connection using their native browsers. The iPad 2, iPad Mini, Nexus 7, and Galaxy Note were tested over a Wifi connection using their native browsers.

For all tests, devices were positioned in the same location, in an attempt to mitigate the latency impact caused by location changes. For all tests, devices and radios were at full power and screens were not allowed to lock during testing.

We calculated median results across these metrics:

  • load time (mobile site)
  • load time (full site)
  • resource requests (mobile site)
  • resource requests (full site)

Sites that did not yield a result were marked as null in the test results.

About Radware

Radware (Nasdaq:RDWR), is a global leader of application delivery and application security solutions for virtual and cloud data centers. Its award-winning solutions portfolio delivers full resilience for business-critical applications, maximum IT efficiency, and complete business agility.

Radware's solutions empower more than 10,000 enterprise and carrier customers worldwide to adapt to market challenges quickly, maintain business continuity and achieve maximum productivity while keeping costs down. For more information, please visit www.radware.com.

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Source:Radware Ltd.