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QVC demonstrates understanding of need for speed on mobile Web: Gomez

While the growth in smartphones is paralleled by more consumers using the mobile Internet, there is a significant gap in mobile performance between leading Web sites such as QVC and other sites, according to Gomez.

Consumers are not willing to sacrifice speed just because they are surfing the Internet from a mobile phone. However, Gomez’s U.S. Retail Mobile Site Performance Index for March shows that some mobile marketers understand the need for speed better than others.

QVC is a consistent strong performer in the retail space while Huntington bank is a leader among banking mobile sites. The report shows, however, that there is a 10 second difference in response between the leading mobile site to the site ranked 15th, making speed a key differentiator among mobile sites.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Giselle Tsirulnik interviewed Jonathan Ranger, benchmarks practice director at Gomez, Inc., Lexington, MA, regarding the importance of balancing the need for rich content with performance in mobile sites. Here is what he had to say:

What trends are you seeing with regards to the mobile Web in retail, and mobile apps?
For the first three months in 2011, QVC has been at the top of Gomez’s U.S. Retail Mobile Site Performance Index. Others rounding out the top five performers for the three months include Newegg, Amazon, Dell and Williams Sonoma.

For the month of March, QVC had the fastest response time across all four carrier and device combinations measured.

As smartphones become a regular part of more people’s lives, the speed at which Web sites load and other data is transmitted is becoming more and more important.

Today’s users expect Web site speeds on their mobile devices to be comparable to, or better than, what they experience on their desktops.

While mobile users may be willing to trade some functionality for the convenience of mobile connectivity, they will not sacrifice speed or availability. However, as the March data reveals, there’s more than a 10 second difference in response time from the leading mobile site to the site ranked 15th, even for the same device on the same wireless carrier.

Even on the same network, some Web sites have found a way to offer stellar speed while others are making users play the waiting game.

High-performing retailers understand the “need for speed” and proactively optimize and tune their Web sites accordingly.

What trends are you seeing with regards to the mobile Web in banking?
For seven measurements periods (Jan. 9 – April 17) for Gomez’s U.S. Banking Mobile Site Performance Index, the top five mobile site performers included Huntington, Branch Banking & Trust KeyBank, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One.

JPMorgan Chase has appeared in the top spot five out of the seven measurement periods, while Huntington is the only bank to appear in all seven measurement periods.

To date, the top five performers have dominated the Index in 2011, appearing together nearly every two-week measurement period.

Recommendations from Gomez
Given the wide range of page response times, it is clear that mobile site speed is a key differentiator.

Today optimizing for speed is an important strategy in a growing and competitive mobile marketplace.

Down the road, more and more end users will browse, buy or complete financial transactions via their mobile devices.

Mobile Web site providers will need to expand their strategy to assure a balance between serving rich content and assuring speed to maximize end-user satisfaction.

Keeping a close eye on competitive Web content richness and site speed over time will assure your site does not lag behind the leaders.

More important, if your site retains a leadership position, you are more likely to reap the revenue and customer satisfaction benefits as mobile sales and service increases as a percentage of total online interactions.

Final Take
Gomez on mobile Web performance