Tablet Users Demand Faster Load Times

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The FINANCIAL — Consumers are acquiring tablets in droves—eMarketer estimates that the number of tablet users in the US alone will climb to 89.5 million in 2014, from 54.8 million this year.

 

And many of these users have high expectations for what the web experience should be like on their new devices.

A January 2012 poll of worldwide tablet users conducted by Equation Research for technology performance company Compuware found that seven out of 10 respondents expected that websites would load at least as fast on tablets as they would on PCs.Tablet users’ expectations are being shaped by their fast PC-browsing experiences. The survey also found that 69% of those polled wanted websites to load in 2 seconds or less on tablets.

Suggesting that current tablet users are somewhat dissatisfied by the web experience on the tablet so far, a sizeable minority of those surveyed, 41%, said they had encountered some kind of problem while browsing on their tablets over the previous 12 months. By eMarketer, within that group, two-thirds said they had dealt with slow-loading websites, while about 40% had faced problems with either formatting or functionality.

 

Failing to meet expectations can have consequences. The poll also found that some consumers were ready to give up on the sites when they hit performance problems—49% of those surveyed said they would be less likely to visit a problematic site again, and 46% said they would visit a competitor’s site instead.

 

One-third would be less likely to purchase from the company in the future, and 12% said they would turn to social media to spread the word about web-browsing problems. To take advantage of ecommerce opportunities, companies need to make sure their websites load quickly on tablets, and that designers keep the devices in mind when developing sites.

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