Shop Direct and Tesco have the fastest websites among Europe’s top retailers, according to a new report from Radware and Level 3.

According to data included in the white paper, 57% of online shoppers will abandon a site if it hasn’t loaded after three seconds.

So Radware conducted a survey of the IR400 European ecommerce sites to see if they met this expectation.

Each site was tested using a range of browsers but the findings in the report are for Google Chrome, which is the most widely adopted browser in the EU.

Overall, the median web page load time was 7.04 seconds, which is double the time it would take for a majority of consumers to abandon their purchase.

As mentioned the research found that UK retailers Shop Direct and Tesco had the fastest load times at 1.69 seconds and 1.72 seconds respectively.

This roughly tallies with a test I ran last year looking at the site speed of the top 10 UK retailers. It found that Tesco and Amazon had the fastest homepages, while Next clocked the slowest load time.

It’s interesting to note that Currys is among the slowest retailers in the Radware report, as it recently overhauled its website using responsive design. However the redesign clearly hasn’t yet had an impact on optimising the site speed.

The research found that the median load time for new visitors was 7.04 seconds, however around a quarter (24%) of sites took longer than 10 seconds to load and 8% took more than 15 seconds.

Interestingly, for returning visitors the median load time decreased significantly to 1.81 seconds.

The importance of site speed for ecommerce sites is well documented, and we’ve previously highlighted research which shows that a one second delay in loading time can cause a 7% loss in customer conversions.

Yet Radware’s research found that one in four ecommerce sites takes more than 10 seconds to load.

Resource requests

One way of reducing page load times is to limit the number of resource requests, such as CSS, Javascript and image files.

Each use of these resources represents one server round trip that is needed to pull all of the page’s resources to the user’s browser.

The median IR400 site had 76 resource requests, however one out of three of the pages tested contained 100 or more resource requests and 2% involved 200 or more.

This chart shows the number of sites vs. the amount of resource requests