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Nobody likes a slow website, so it’s extremely important that businesses keep page loading times to a minimum.

You can read the precise stats in our post about site speed case studies, tips and tools for improving your conversion rate, but essentially if you run a slow website you’ll start to lose both traffic and sales.

To draw attention to this issue, we’ve previously evaluated the top UK retailers using Google’s site speed tool, as well as several UK newspapers.

So it only seemed fair that we also look at what Google thinks of the top 10 US retailers. And this time I also tested each of the sites using WebPageTest’s load speed tool.

Caveats

As we pointed out in previous posts, we know this isn’t a scientific test and the two tools I've used here are a guide. Site speed will very much depend on location, equipment used, and so on.

Furthermore, a bad score on Google's page speed tool doesn't necessarily mean a site is slow, but it does provide some useful pointers on the kinds of issues slowing down sites.

Amazon

Homepage

Amazon’s homepage scored an excellent 93 out of 100 from Google, while its load time was 2.75 seconds.

Google had no high priority recommendations, which is what you would expect from a company with Amazon’s development budget.

Product page

Amazon’s Kindle Fire product page achieved an equally impressive 92 from Google, with just one high priority recommendation to combine images into CSS sprites.

But according to WebPageTest it took 14.04 seconds to load, which isn’t quite as spectacular.

Staples

Homepage

Google gave Staples 76 out of 100, with several high priority recommendations including minimizing redirects. Loading time according to WebPageTest was a fairly average 6.64 seconds.

Product page

The product page scored 80 on Google’s tool, which is slightly better then the homepage. However the page speed was 9.10 seconds, three seconds slower than the homepage.

Apple

Homepage

Google gave Apple a rather meagre 62 out of 100, however its load speed was a not-so-slow 4.79 seconds.

Product page

The iPad Mini product page outperformed the homepage with a score of 76 and a load time of 4.40 seconds.

Google’s high priority recommendations were to leverage browser caching and combine images into CSS sprites.

Walmart

Homepage

Walmart scored a rather average 79 with the usual recommendations to leverage browser caching and optimize images. WebPageTest recorded the load time as 5.49 seconds.

Product page

Google gave it 85, meaning Walmart is yet another retailer with a better score for a product page than the homepage.

The load time was clocked at 6.82 seconds, which is actually quite quick compared to other brands on this list.

Dell

Homepage

Dell’s homepage performed well in both tests, achieving a score of 86 and a load time of 3.09 seconds.

Product page

The Inspiron 15R product page clocked a load time of 8.32 seconds and a Google score of 76.

Office Depot

Homepage

Office Depot’s homepage also achieved decent scores in both tests. Google gave it 89 with no high priority recommendations and its load time came in at 5.36 seconds.

Product page

Though the laptop product page scored 89 from Google, its load time was clocked at a relatively slow 8.05 seconds. 

Sears 

Homepage

Sears’ homepage achieved a score of 90 with zero high priority recommendations and a load speed of 5.58 seconds.

Product page

Though Google gave Sears’ product page a score of 90, it’s WebPageTest speed was 10.24 seconds. 

Office Max

Homepage

Office Max’s homepage scored a relatively poor 73 out of 100, with high priority recommendations to leverage browser caching, combine images into CSS sprites and minimize redirects.

The page load speed was measured at 6.90 seconds, which seems slow but isn’t too bad compared to others on this list.

Product page

Results for the product page were almost identical to the homepage, with Google scoring it 72 out of 100 and the page load speed being clocked at 6.25 seconds.

Newegg

Homepage

Computer retailer Newegg scored reasonable well in both tests. Google gave it 86 and the load speed was 6.48.

Product page

Newegg’s product page scores were fairly consistent with the homepage. It scored 88 from Google and the load speed came in at 7.00 seconds.

Macy’s

Homepage

Macy’s easily achieved the lowest score out of all the retailers with just 36 out of 100. The page load speed was slightly less dire at 8.58 seconds.

Product page

Macy’s product page scored a mediocre 66 out of 100 and a load speed of 6.26. 

Conclusion

Overall the standard was consistently high, as you would expect form top online retailers. Only Apple and Macy’s scored less than 70 from Google, with Macy’s scoring just 36 for its homepage and 66 for a product page, while Apple’s homepage scored 62.

As with the UK test, Amazon was the top performer with 93 for its homepage and 92 for a product page.

Amazon also clocked the fastest load time for its homepage with 2.75 seconds, followed by Dell (3.09 seconds) and Apple (4.79 seconds). Macy’s homepage had the slowest load time with 8.58 seconds.

Looking at the product pages however, Amazon achieved the slowest load time with 14.04 seconds while Apple’s was the quickest at 4.4 seconds.

So what does this test prove? Well the two tools actually appear to contradict each other, as Amazon’s product page achieved the top score from Google but clocked the slowest load time.

Similarly, Apple’s homepage achieved the second lowest score from Google but the third fastest load time.

So really it highlights the fact that while these free tools are a useful benchmark, they shouldn’t be taken as gospel and businesses shouldn’t rely on one measurement metric when analysing their site speed.

David Moth

Published 5 November, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1690 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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James Royal-Lawson

I know you say right at the start that this wasn't a scientific test - but I wondered what viewport size you used when testing with Google's page speed tool? (On some sites, the score can vary depending on how big or small you have your browser viewport)

about 4 years ago

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Andrey

I thought the biggest online store monitor the speed of the pages loading. But it turns out it is not. Amazon only fairly well optimized.

about 4 years ago

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