Blog / Research22 December 2018

Research: 40% of Ukrainian online stores load slowly on desktops

Loading speed of pages has a significant value for commercial sites: the slower the site loads, the higher is the possibility that a potential client will leave it before seeing any information he needs. Research by such ecommerce giants as Walmart or Shopzilla show that even a small website acceleration has a significant effect on its conversion and sales.

Another reason to think about loading speed today is the growth of mobile Internet: many users access the network from phones and tablets with a relatively slow connection. The loading speed of mobile sites is important not only for people but also for search engines. For example, earlier Google used this metric only to evaluate the desktop version of the resource, but after Speed ​​Update loading speed became one of the ranking factors in mobile search.

Basing on this, we decided to check the loading speed optimization of Ukrainian online stores and the factors that are influencing it. We have already published the results of this study in the article on Delo.ua. However, not all the data was included in that article, so here we want to share more information with you.

Methods

For the analysis, we used our own database of Ukrainian online stores, which contained 23,246 unique domains. We checked the loading speed of these sites with specially developed software that used Google PageSpeed ​​Insights API v4. Please note that the check was made before PageSpeed ​​Insights update on November 12, 2018; the tool currently runs on API version 5.

For each of the checked URLs, the API gave a loading speed score for the main page on a 100-point scale, as well as 10 main indicators that affect it.

Results

The loading speed of online stores was scored on a scale from 0 to 100. According to PageSpeed ​​Insights documentation, the scores meant the following:

  • 0 – 59 – low level of optimization;
  • 60 – 79 – medium level of optimization;
  • 80 – 100 – good level of optimization.

Please note that in the current version of the tool, the scale is somewhat different. You can see the new numerical ranges here.

As a result, we found that the average optimization score was:

  • 62.6 for desktops (Desktop Score);
  • 69.97 for mobile devices (Mobile Score).

In the diagrams below, we visually presented the distribution of the studied sites array by the value of the optimization score, dividing the whole range into segments of 10 points.

In addition, we obtained data for 10 PageSpeed ​​Insights rules, compliance with which helps to increase loading speed:

  • Avoid Landing Page Redirects;
  • Enable GZip Compression;
  • Leverage Browser Caching;
  • Improve Main Resource Server Response Time;
  • Minify CSS;
  • Minify HTML;
  • Minify JavaScript;
  • Minimize Render Blocking Resources;
  • Optimize Images;
  • Prioritize Visible Content.

Compliance of the site with each of the 10 rules was shown by Impact metric. It’s a dimensionless number that shows how strongly non-compliance with this rule affects page loading speed relative to other rules. For example, if using GZip compression will save up to 200 KB when loading a page, and optimizing images will save up to 400 KB, then Impact for the Optimize Images rule will be 2 times bigger than for Enable GZip Compression rule. Impact equal to 0 means that the rule is fully complied with, so the possibilities for speeding up by this parameter are minimized.

The average Impacts for the websites of online stores of Ukraine on computers and mobile are shown in the diagrams below.

The data showed that non-optimized images had the greatest impact on the loading speed of online stores on computers. Many site owners do not pay enough attention to reducing the size of images. Meanwhile, by compressing photos and deleting meta data (camera model, photo date, etc.), you can significantly reduce loading time.

It is also worth noting that the data on the use of cache may be overestimated. This is due to the fact that on many sites Google Analytics scripts are connected. Developers do not recommend caching these scripts. At the same time, the old version of PageSpeed ​​Insights included these resources in the list of non-cacheable files. Therefore, it affected the score.

Resources that block the page rendering seemed to be the strongest factor that slows down the loading of online stores websites on mobile devices. Owners should take care of optimizing the delivery of such resources, for example, by setting up deferred and asynchronous loading of scripts (defer and async attributes) if possible, adding Critical rendering path, deferred loading of unused CSS code, etc.

Findings

The loading speed of online stores in Ukraine is at an acceptable level on average. However, most of them still need to be optimized. The PageSpeed ​​Insights API v4 data showed that the overall level of optimization for mobile devices was slightly higher than for computers. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that the update of PageSpeed ​​Insights changed the picture. Now, the scores of most sites on desktops exceed scores on mobile devices.

Key optimization tips that can be given to online store owners include (for any device):

  • optimizing images;
  • setting up deferred loading of resources that block page rendering;
  • optimizing JavaScript files delivery.

Remember that even if your site loads quickly enough but you still have the opportunity to speed it up you should not ignore it. Faster loading will help you to keep customers and to increase conversion rates.

If you understood that your website needs to be accelerated, and you cannot do it without the help of specialists, then ARTO web agency is ready to offer you its services. Contact us, we are always glad to help!

Nikolay Ashpin
SEO, blog editor
I have been engaged in copywriting since 2014, in SEO - since 2017. I am interested in Internet marketing modern trends and search engine optimization, as well as in the capabilities of the Google My Business tool, and I share the experience of using it at seminars and conferences. If you have a question about this article, please write to nikolay@arto.agency.

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