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How does website speed affect conversion rates?

Sam Van Hees • 22 February 2023

One of the promises of headless commerce is the increase in site speed. But is site speed really that important and in what way does it affect your webshop? Well, nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer.

What is a webpage’s conversion rate?

A visitor converts when he or she undertakes the desired action the page was initially designed for. Let’s say a visitor lands on your product page, the visitor converts when he or she buys the product.

Conversion on the other hand can also be someone signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook, or even just clicking through to the next page on the website.

If you have 100 visitors a day on your product page and 3 people end up buying the product, the conversion rate of that webpage is 3%. 

The conversion rate is not the same as total traffic to a page. A page’s conversion rate can go down while the page traffic surges. Conversely, page traffic can stay the same but the conversion rate can increase or decrease. 

How does website speed affect conversion rates?

Website speed, oftentimes also known as website performance, refers to how quickly a browser is able to fully load a functional web page. Over the years studies have consistently shown that website speed has a large impact on conversion rates. In other words, the quicker a webshop loads, the more likely a visitor will buy your products.

PagespeedConversion rate
2.4 seconds
1.9% conversion rate
3.3 seconds
1.5% conversion rate
4.2 seconds
<1% conversion rate
5.7 seconds +
< 0.6% conversion rate

While these numbers might not look that impressive, small increases in conversion actually have a large impact on your revenue. If an eCommerce webshop does 10 million euros per year and the conversion rate increases by 1.5% because of some speed improvements, that’s a €150,000 euro jump in revenue. 

  • Walmart discovered that improving page load time by one second increased conversions by 2%

  • As page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases by 123%.

  • The highest eCommerce conversion rates occur on pages with load times between 0-2 seconds.

  • BBC discovered that they lost 10% of their total users for every additional second it took for their pages to load.

Other factors affecting conversion rate? 

Website speed is not only important for conversion but also impacts other aspects of your online store. First of all bounce rate. 

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a website after only viewing 1 webpage. The longer it takes for your website to load the more likely visitors are to leave.

SEO, Google is in the business of getting relevant information to users as quickly as possible. Hence site performance is an important factor in Google search rankings. Over the past few years, Google has shifted to mobile-first indexing, meaning it’s even more important to focus on your website's mobile loading speeds. Fun fact, the average mobile web page takes 15.3 seconds to load!

User experience, Waiting for web pages to load is one of the biggest frustrations of online shoppers. Since your competitors are only one Google search away, today’s impatient shoppers do not hesitate to look elsewhere for the products they need. 

It’s safe to say that website speed matters. Headless commerce is known to increase website speed significantly. Brightly, one of Shopify's fastest growing brands, used our storefront builder platform to build a headless storefront and experienced an increase in site speed of 70%. Read the complete customer story here.


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Author / Writer
Sam Van Hees
Founder & CMO

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