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Over one-third of UK consumers wouldn’t wait longer than 30 seconds on an unresponsive website before switching to a competitor

Hyve Managed Hosting, released findings which reveal that UK shoppers will overlook existing brand loyalties – jumping ship to a competitor – if their preferred retailer’s website experiences even a minute of downtime.

The research, carried out by leading research provider Censuswide and commissioned by Hyve, shows that 42% of consumers would move to a competitors’ website after less than a minute if their go-to brand suffered an outage, with 34% prepared to wait no longer than 30 seconds in those circumstances.

Despite ecommerce usage growing and brands across all industries moving online, website downtime is still common among retailers. The research revealed over one-third (38%) of UK consumers have been unable to access a company’s website in the past 12 months, with nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents experiencing this situation more than once. When faced with this situation, UK consumers are willing to shop elsewhere, with nearly 40% (39%) admitting they’d consider using a competitor’s service in this situation.

Downtime can occur at any time and be linked to a range of issues. One key driver is websites being unprepared for a sudden increase in visitors. However, even when a surge in web traffic is expected, issues can still occur without prior planning to manage peaks and effectively load balance. The research highlighted this issue – over one-fifth (21%) of UK consumers reported being unable to access a website to buy a newly launched product or service in the past 12 months. This can also negatively impact the wider brand, and this sentiment is held by younger consumers. In a separate research project, Hyve found millennials are particularly unforgiving, with 57% of this age group saying that site downtime causes immediate negative brand perception.

“I hope this research serves as a wake up call to brands on the importance of running their operations on high availability platforms. Consumers have never had so much choice online and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re willing to shop with competitors if their first-choice service is unavailable,” explained Jake Madders, director and co-founder of Hyve. “We’re used to seeing outages around busy shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But more recently, energy providers also suffered outages as concerned customers tried to log their gas and electricity usage ahead of the April price cap increase . We imagine the same thing will happen again in October, if providers don’t take remedial steps.

“No matter what sector a business operates in, more needs to be done to mitigate the risk of downtime by scaling up resources at appropriate moments,” Madders continued. “Currently, a high percentage of businesses are totally reliant on a single public cloud provider, which means internal teams are responsible for anticipating scaling, which can be an arduous task. For any business looking to manage traffic spikes more effectively, the answer is to either diversify risk by using multiple providers or to partner with a managed service provider to ensure this is taken care of.”