SOASTA Survey: Website Performance Will Influence How Americans Do Their Online Holiday Shopping

Seventy percent of Americans’ online behaviors would be influenced by website performance grades – including how and where they will do online holiday shopping

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--With the holidays on the horizon, SOASTA, the leader in performance analytics, has released the results of a survey gauging the extent to which consumers’ online behavior would be affected if websites had performance “grades.” The survey found that 70 percent of Americans’ browsing and online shopping behavior would be affected by such a rating, with Millennials being the most reactive. Fifty-three percent of Millennial women said they would skip online shopping sites with poor grades, and 56 percent said they would do more shopping from sites with good grades. In addition, especially significant as the holiday shopping season approaches, 46 percent of American women say they most rely on website performance to do online holiday shopping.

The survey also discovered that Millennial women are twice as likely to use the Internet to entertain their children as the average American; that Millennial men are twice as likely as the average American to seek distraction from a boring date on the Internet; and that Americans believe that optimizing website performance on personal computers should still take priority over smartphones and other devices.

SOASTA commissioned the research to support the launch of its new Consumer Performance Index (CPI), a unique way to benchmark how well a website engages consumers.

Millennials are built for speed

Seventy-five percent of Millennial men and 81 percent of Millennial women said their browsing behaviors would be affected if websites had performance grades (compared to 70 percent of the general American population). Fifty-three percent of Millennial women said they would skip online shopping sites with poor grades, and 56 percent said they would do more shopping from sites with good grades.

“Statistics like this are significant to online businesses, because they affect business performance,” said Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA. “For example, users are impatient and won’t wait around if a site is slow. And if they leave, they won’t transact and, more importantly, won’t return. Website performance grades are clearly important to consumers; as a result, they are essential tools for businesses.”

Forty-two percent of Millennial women said they would think less of tech companies whose sites had poor performance grades, and 41 percent would not click on news stories from sites with low grades. Millennial men (24 percent), meanwhile, shared the opinion of 35-44-year-old men (28 percent) that the performance grade of an erotic website would weigh into their decision of whether or not to browse a site.

Curiously, only 20 percent of Americans said they would stop using poorly performing social networking sites.

American women more reliant on the Internet for holiday shopping

When asked in which situations Americans most rely on websites, 46 percent of American women said “online holiday shopping,” as did 32 percent of American men.

Thirty-two percent of the general population said they most relied on the Internet for “finding a recipe for dinner,” as did 41 percent of Millennials.

Americans also turn to websites to “see what their friends are up to” (26 percent), watch their favorite TV shows (25 percent), and to stay informed about presidential hopefuls (20 percent).

In most categories, however, none turn to the Internet as often as Millennial women:

During which of the following situations is using a website most important to you?





Online holiday shopping             39 percent             58 percent
Finding a recipe for dinner             32 percent             52 percent
Seeing what friends are up to             26 percent             51 percent
Getting caught up on favorite TV series             25 percent             48 percent
Entertaining my child             9 percent             25 percent

Millennial men, meanwhile, were twice as likely as the average American to turn to the Internet for distraction from a boring date (13 percent vs. 5 percent).

Computers are still king

While nearly 1 in 3 Americans agreed that companies should be focusing on performance across devices, nearly half said the priority should still be on personal computers. Smartphones were a close runner-up.

One in 4 Americans thought companies should be optimizing their websites for smart cars. Smart watches, however, were almost nobody’s concern:

On which of the following devices should companies be most concerned about website performance?

Personal computers             48 percent
--Laptop (PC)             40 percent
--Desktop (PC)             36 percent
--Laptop (Mac)             24 percent
--Desktop (Mac)             22 percent
Smartphones             45 percent
Tablets             36 percent
Smart cars             25 percent
Smart watches             12 percent

Unsurprisingly, 65 percent of students said website performance on their computer was a top priority, and 62 percent said companies should focus on smartphone performance.

Room for improvement

When asked which websites are generally best performing, Americans seemed to be at a loss. Twenty-eight percent said social media sites; 26 percent said news/entertainment sites; and 20 percent said sites for streaming TV and movies. The numbers get worse from there: only 19 percent voted for consumer product sites, 17 percent for big box store sites and 14 percent for gaming sites. Only 4 percent said the presidential candidates have top performing sites.

When asked what aspects of website performance are most crucial, Americans agreed that ease of navigation (79 percent) was the top consideration, especially senior men (89 percent) and women (91 percent). The other top consideration – across age and income brackets – was speed (73 percent). Sixty-eight percent of Americans said reliability was a priority, and 62 percent said it was important that sites don’t crash. Only 13 percent said personalized content was a top consideration.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of SOASTA from September 23-25, 2015, among 2,044 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and, therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Gaby Perez-Silva:


SOASTA is the leader in performance analytics. The SOASTA platform enables digital business owners to gain unprecedented and continuous performance insights into their real user experience on mobile and web devices in real time and at scale. With more than 3 billion user experiences monitored, measured, tested and optimized every week, SOASTA is the digital performance expert trusted by industry-leading brands, including 41 of the Top 100 Internet retailers, such as Target, Nordstrom, Staples, Sears, Walmart, Etsy, Nike, Best Buy, Adobe, Intuit, Microsoft, DirectTV, Netflix and BBC. SOASTA is privately held and headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. For more information about SOASTA, visit

About The Harris Poll

Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods. Contact us for more information.


Gaby Perez-Silva, 650-390-6700


Gaby Perez-Silva, 650-390-6700