Mobile app loading times matter – Mobile App Retail Index finds most retailers are still failing to meet advised load times

PacketZoom Retail Index Comparison

61% of mobile users now expect retail pages in-app on their mobile devices to load within four seconds or less. That’s according to new data from market research firm Dynatrace.

If loading times are longer, retailers risk consumers turning away and abandoning their apps. However, most retail apps are still falling short of this goal. Too many requests and large total file sizes as well as a lack of optimization of an app’s overall performance mean that retail apps take at least twice as long to download the main page.

That is why PacketZoom’s new Mobile App Retail Index looks at performance benchmarks among selected retail apps to rank the most frequently visited page of each app as well as their download times.

Here, download time is a result of app infrastructure and design methodology. Brands which are higher in the ranking tend to use more advanced acceleration technologies or more minimalistic design approaches.

Beauty retailer Sephora was found to be the only retail app which kept its download time below the four second threshold. Walmart ranked as a close second with 4.1 seconds. Both retailers have opted for a design that promotes request whilst keeping pages lightweight to ensure faster loading times.

Retailers such as Zappos, Home Depot, Kohl’s and others failed to follow best practices and their app download times suffered accordingly with download times of app main screens approaching 30 seconds or more.

PacketZoom Retail Index Chart 1 with PZ

In addition, mobile pages represent a collection of content elements that are fetched from a server and then rendered to a user’s app. That means the number of items that have to be grabbed as well as content download generally affect the network and subsequently load speeds.

Factors which also impact loading speed include app design and network conditions.

Indeed, a recent PacketZoom report found that mobile app publishers have moved away from traditional CDNs to adopt newer ones created for mobile developers.

To optimise app page download times, the company says it recommends proper testing and monitoring using real devices. PacketZoom does offer such monitoring solutions as well as Mobile Expresslane in-app technology.