By Daniel Hunter

The sluggish web performance of the UK’s busiest e-tailers showed no signs of improvement in the second quarter of 2012, according to NCC Group’s Quarterly Online Retail Report.

“With the recent high-profile fall in sales from several major high street players, e-tailers should be seizing the opportunity to claim the lost custom — but they’re not taking advantage,” Bob Dowson, director at NCC Group, commented.

The report analysed the online performance of the country’s top 50 e-tailers in terms of average download speed and website downtime — and both saw a slight decline in comparison to Q1.

The websites averaged a download speed of 5.66 seconds - using a benchmark connection speed of 2 Mbps — an increase from 5.2 seconds in the previous quarter. It’s thought that over half of online shoppers will wait three seconds or fewer before abandoning a site, making speed crucial to overall experience and directly impacting on e-tailer revenue.

Average downtime also increased slightly in comparison to Q1, at 2 hours and 5 minutes compared to 2 hours and 4 minutes in the three months prior. Downtime can have severe consequences for revenue and brand reputation.

NCC Group now calls for e-tailers to up their game and take advantage of the struggling high street and growing online market.

“These results indicate that some e-tailers are resting on their laurels, as they’ve taken no steps to improve their service levels," Bob continued.

"Site performance is an area that companies have more control over than many other elements of their IT so e-tailers really must be more proactive and actively pursue improvements.”

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