Does the average web user waste two days a year waiting for pages to load?

Maybe. Maybe not. But the truth isn’t important. What’s important is that, in a recent survey of more than 1,500 web users, the average respondent says they feel that’s how much time they waste. And they’re not thrilled about it.

Other findings in this research, which was performed by the UK company 1&1 Internet:

  • 71% of respondents say they’re regularly inconvenienced by slow websites.
  • The average user estimates that they waste 9 minutes every day, or 2 days a year, waiting for slow pages to load.
  • Half believe that websites have either not improved in speed or have become slower over the past five years. Only one out of four web users believe that the websites they use are getting faster each year.
  • Almost one-third of users report that their performance-related stress or anger has increased over the past five years.
  • 78% of users say they’ve felt some kind of negative emotion as a result of a slow or unreliable website. 27% of men say they’ve felt stress or anger, compared to 34% of women.
  • 44% of users say that slow online transactions make them unsure about the success of the transaction.
  • 42% of men and 35% of women have decided not to use a company again as a result of experiencing a slow website.
  • Over the past five years, 37% of web users believe they’ve become more savvy about judging whether a website is running more slowly than it should.

The interesting thing about surveys like this that they don’t necessarily express the reality of web performance, but instead people’s perception of reality. This is a fascinating counterpoint to the hard-and-fast tool-driven metrics that people in our industry tend to focus on. And it’s a good reminder that we live in world where people perceive your pages as being 15% slower than they actually are, and later remember them as being even slower than that.

Takeaway: From an end-user’s perspective, performance is a feeling — not a metric in a report.

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