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Page load time and revenue - the hype


A one second slowdown in page load time costs Amazon $1.6 billion in sales.

Have you heard that? I’ve heard it lots. It’s stated and restated in dozens of articles on the importance of optimizing your website for speed.

It’s a sobering statistic. Slow website = lose $1.6 billion … Well I certainly don’t want to lose $1.6 billion, do you? We better make our website fast af.

Here’s the thing - all the articles citing that statistic seem to point back to a FastCompany article from 2012. And that article cites an infographic published by OnlineGraduatePrograms.com - which is no longer a website. And even when it was a website, it’s doubtful that it was an authority when it comes to online behavior.

Here’s another thing - even if it’s true, this result is about Amazon, not your website.

Most Amazon customers visit the site so often, they can feel it slow down. Same goes for Google. If one of these sites is lagging, you’ll likely assume the issue is with your internet connection. Maybe try again later.

It’s different if you’re visiting BobsDiscountLawnmowerParts.net or Plantstr.io - you’ve never been there before, and have no specific expectations for how fast it should load.

Faster is still better, sure. And there’s certainly such a thing as too slow. But a one second slowdown in page load time won’t cost you $1.6 billion, no matter how often the statistic is copy-pasted across the interwebs.

Tomorrow I’ll share some better-supported, more relevant research - and we’ll see how close we can actually get to estimating the impact of a second.


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© 2022 Brian David Hall