User experience is a key differentiator in ecommerce as if the process of buying something from a website is enjoyable and convenient then it encourages customer loyalty.

To an extent, it can even overcome the natural consumer urge to find the lowest price.

However for most consumers cost is still the most important factor when making a purchase, as evidenced by new traffic stats from Ryanair.

A study by SimilarWeb into traffic volumes for several airlines found that Ryanair consistently outperforms EasyJet and British Airways despite its obvious contempt for UX and customer service.

We written a number of posts about the shoddy UX on Ryanair’s site, including its hidden costs, irritating upselling, and lack of a mobile site, yet customers are still obviously attracted by the airline’s low prices.

In fact in June this year Ryanair’s site received more traffic that British Airways and EasyJet combined. 

British Airways and EasyJet show a more stable line throughout the year, with a more consistent flow of web visitors, however Ryanair’s lowest traffic point (December) is still bigger than EasyJet’s busiest period in July.

User engagement

However traffic stats aren’t everything, as we know all to well on the Econsultancy blog.

SimilarWeb also looked at the average time on site, the average number of page views and the bounce rate for the three airlines.

It found that Ryanair had the shortest average time on site at five minutes 18 seconds, compared to nine minutes 17 seconds for EasyJet. The Irish budget airline also had the highest bounce rate at 40.47% compared to 19.97% for EasyJet and 16.32% for British Airways.

Third party referral traffic

Price comparison websites are a massive part of the travel industry and dominate natural search rankings.

Among the sites analysed, BA is the most dependant on comparison sites, with around 10% of its traffic coming from third-party referrals. Half of this traffic comes from four sites: CheapFlights, DealChecker, TravelZoo, and SkyScanner.

For EasyJet and Ryanair, SkyScanner is the number one source of referral traffic, sending them 11% and 12% of the incoming referrals respectively.