Major media websites lose audience due to slow load times on mobile

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According to the latest study released by mobile device data expert DeviceAtlas, leading news websites fail to impress in terms of web performance on mobile. Results show that 50 of the world's most popular newspaper websites take an average of 10.5 seconds to load – over three times longer than most visitors will wait. The slowest websites took up to 19-22 seconds before being accessible. The research is part of the newly released Mobile Web Intelligence Report revealing mobile device usage statistics in Q1 2017.

This new DeviceAtlas report reveals many newspaper websites exceed the "three second" threshold, in some cases taking longer to load on a smartphone than the time it takes to recite the alphabet. This load time delay inevitably leads to higher bounce rates and fewer pages per session.

The report builds on research by Google's DoubleClick which showed 53 percent of mobile site visits were abandoned if pages took longer than three seconds to load.

DeviceAtlas research also found that newspaper websites in India were fastest to load on mobile with 7.7 seconds on average. Similar websites based in Western countries were a lot slower, for example, 12.2 seconds in Italy and 12.8 seconds in Spain.  

For this new report, the DeviceAtlas team handpicked 50 of the largest daily newspapers based in 18 countries and tested their websites for performance on mobile. Testing conditions included accessing these websites on a Nexus 5X using a 1.5 Mb/s network to emulate typical experience on a phone. Here are the most striking findings:

  • 10.5 seconds – Average load time on mobile
  • 1.35MB – Average page weight on mobile
  • 30 percent – Using mobile URL redirection (m-dot, mobile-dot, etc.)
  • 19-22 seconds – Slowest websites' load time
  • 2.7-5.3MB – Heaviest websites' page weight

DeviceAtlas Mobile Web Intelligence Report for Q1 2017 also focuses on a number of device usage statistics based on web traffic collected from hundreds of thousands of partner websites using the device detection platform. These statistics revealed that:

  • 5-5.1-inch is now the most popular diagonal screen size.
  • Samsung lost up to 5 percent of web traffic share between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017.
  • Samsung Browser is now the third most used mobile browser.
  • NFC phones generate over 70 percent of web traffic in developed countries but only 25-40 percent in emerging markets.

Download the full report

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