A recent survey by Gomez, the Web performance division of Compuware, shows a significant portion of U.S. consumers will quickly abandon websites that perform slowly.

With nearly a third of consumers stating they would start abandoning slow sites between one and five seconds, the survey findings offer an end-user perspective of the potential impact of Net Neutrality regulations and the importance of speed for all web businesses.

Speed makes a difference when it comes to accessing a website:
• Nearly one-third (32%) of consumers will start abandoning slow sites between one and five seconds.
• 84% are only willing to try a slow performing website a few times before giving up.
• 39% say speed is more important than functionality for most websites, while only one in five rank greater site functionality as more important.

Speed also makes a difference when it comes to accessing a mobile site:
• A third of all web users are also using a mobile device to access the Internet.
• More than half of mobile users expect websites to load as quickly, almost as quickly or faster on their mobile phone, compared to the computer they use at home.

Slow load times are common and users feel frustrated with poor performance:
• Two thirds (67%) of users encounter a slow performing website a few times a week or more.
• More than a third (37%) said they would not return to a slow site, and 27% would likely jump to a competitor’s site.
• For mobile web users, slow website load times and poor formatting are the top two issues encountered on the mobile web.

Web users have visited sites and not been unable to accomplish their tasks:
• More than 80% of users say they have been unable to accomplish their tasks – such as completing a purchase or a financial transaction – on a specific website at least once.
• Nearly half (47%) say they have frequently abandoned sites where they couldn’t finish their tasks in the past three months.

“When web users encounter web or mobile site performance problems, their patience and loyalty run thin,” said Matt Poepsel, vice president of performance strategies at Gomez. “However, many companies fail to realize that seconds really do count because their customers refer to best-in-class web performers like Facebook, Google and Yahoo! as a measuring stick or standard for determining how fast all sites should be.”

[Source:  “When Seconds Count,” conducted for Gomez by Equation Research.  7 Sept. 2010.  Web.  15 Oct. 2010.]