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Online Sport Retailers' Web Performance

We are now into the final week of January and at the point where New Year’s resolutions are either continued or stopped.  Like most, mine was to go to the gym more. Now, I can't say that I enjoy the gym much, as I prefer playing sports such as cricket and football. With this in mind, at the gym, I go by the mantra ‘looking the part to feel the part’ (some may say it’s ‘all the gear, no idea’). With my motivation starting to waver, I decided the only thing to keep me in the gym was buying some new sports ‘stash’.

I went shopping on two popular online retailers –Sports Direct & Kitbag and I became intrigued by their web performance. Both websites have been monitored by our in house tool and we have collected over six months’ worth of data about their web performance. I had also recently read an econsultancy blog, saying that the Sports Direct website was very well designed. Whilst this may be the case, I was interested to see if their performance backed up its design, and to see how it compared to a similar retailer.

Looking back at the last three months, the Sports Direct average homepage response time was hovering just over the three second mark (3.42s to be exact). KitBag’s response time was slightly slower at just over five seconds. Both homepage response times weren’t horrendous, but they made me think back to a couple of articles which I read recently.

Summit talked about how 92 per cent of retailers fail to achieve the magic three second load benchmark. In this case, both of the websites have failed that test but both could get nearer the benchmark with a few changes.  Summit continue to describe the importance of ecommerce sites during the decision making process for a consumer. In this example, a poorly performing ecommerce site could be the difference between a consumer buying from you or the competition. Both sites provide similar products at similar prices. But if one site is slower, on most occasions I would shop with the faster website.

But is response time the correct method to determine if a website is fast enough? Tim Kadlec discusses several means of understanding ‘what is fast and what is slow’ and points to the speed index of a page. The speed index looks at how quickly the majority of a page is painted on a browser rather. Using our WebPageTest instance, we can visually demonstrate when Sports Direct website becomes functional for a consumer compared to KitBag. It's interesting to note that although elements of the KitBag page are displayed first, the Sports Direct site is functional sooner.

Both articles provide different means of gauging ‘how fast is fast enough?’. Either way, with online spending continuing to grow, the performance of your website may be the difference between a consumer using your site and that of your rival.

For more information about the monitoring tools used in this article, feel free to contact us at

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