Akamai and JupiterResearch Identify '4 Seconds' as the New Threshold of Acceptability for Retail Web Page Response Times

Cambridge, MA |

- Four seconds is the maximum length of time an average online shopper will wait for a Web page to load before potentially abandoning a retail site. This is one of several key findings revealed in a report made available today by Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), commissioned through JupiterResearch, that examines consumer reaction to a poor online shopping experience.

The report ranked poor site performance as second only to high product prices and shipping costs as leading factors for dissatisfaction among online shoppers.

Based on the feedback of 1,058 online shoppers that were surveyed during the first half of 2006, JupiterResearch offers the following analysis:

  • The consequences for an online retailer whose site underperforms include diminished goodwill, negative brand perception, and, most important, significant loss in overall sales. 
  • Online shopper loyalty is contingent upon quick page loading, especially for high-spending shoppers and those with greater tenure. 
  • JupiterResearch recommends that retailers make every effort to keep page rendering to no longer than four seconds.

Additional findings in the report show that more than one-third of shoppers with a poor experience abandoned the site entirely, while 75 percent were likely not to shop on that site again. These results demonstrate that a poorly performing website can be damaging to a company’s reputation; according to the survey, nearly 30 percent of dissatisfied customers will either develop a negative perception of the company or tell their friends and family about the experience

With less than three weeks to go before the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. -- the kick-off to the peak online shopping season -- Akamai has seen a consistent increase in Web traffic among its retail customers as evidenced by its unique Net Usage Index for Retail available at www.akamai.com/netusageindex. Today, Akamai serves over 65 of the top 100 retail sites as recognized by the Internet Retailer Top 500*.

"The customer experience begins the very instant a shopper types in your online address," said Don Becklin, president of Motorcycle Superstore, Inc. "We put a very strong focus on both the organization of our site and the site's performance. We knew implementing Akamai's services was the right option for ensuring a smooth, efficient e-commerce experience. As a result, we now see a direct relationship between online revenues and site performance. Akamai is helping to enable our online business."

Close to half of the retailers on the Internet Retailer Top 500 list still experience site response times in excess of four seconds, demonstrating the need for site acceleration services. Akamai retail customers that are part of Internet Retailer's ranking have an 11 percent improved conversion rate in turning browsers into buyers over non-Akamai customers on the same list.

The JupiterResearch report also states:

  • Roughly half of “mature” online shoppers – those with either two or more years tenure shopping online or that spend more than $1,500 annually – identify page loading time as one of their top priorities for online sites
  • Forty-six percent of online shoppers insist on a rapid checkout process, with 55 percent of shoppers spending $1,500 or more demanding the same 
  • Sixty-five percent indicated they are likely to return to a site that is easy to navigate, particularly during the registration, log-in and checkout processes

"The critical takeaway from this research is that online shoppers not only demand quality site performance, they expect it," said Brad Rinklin, vice president of marketing at Akamai. "Four seconds is the new benchmark by which a retail site will be judged, which leaves little room for error for retailers to maintain a loyal online customer base. Site performance becomes even more critical as retailers add more dynamic content and applications to their site."

JupiterResearch analysis indicates that the number of online shoppers will grow with the adoption of broadband access. JupiterResearch projects that 78 percent of online households in the U.S. will have broadband access by 2010.

For a complimentary copy of the full report, please visit www.akamai.com/4seconds.

About Akamai

Akamai® is the leading global service provider for accelerating content and business processes online. Thousands of organizations have formed trusted relationships with Akamai, improving their revenue and reducing costs by maximizing the performance of their online businesses. Leveraging the Akamai EdgePlatform, these organizations gain business advantage today, and have the foundation for the emerging Web solutions of tomorrow. Akamai is "The Trusted Choice for Online Business." For more information, visit www.akamai.com.

Akamai Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act

The release contains information about future expectations, plans and prospects of Akamai Technologies, Inc.'s management that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors including, but not limited to, the effects of any attempts to intentionally disrupt our services or network by unauthorized users or others, failure to have available sufficient transmission capacity, a failure of Akamai's network infrastructure and other factors that are discussed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and other documents periodically filed with the SEC.