Need for Speed: Smartphone and Tablet Users Hate Waiting Even Three Seconds to Load Websites

It’s a good thing Canadian telcos are rolling out 4G networks. Mobile device users, it turns out, are short on patience.

According to the results of a survey of mobile users conducted by Keynote Competitive Research, 60% of tablet users expect to wait less than three seconds to fully load a website. 64% of smartphone users want websites to load within four seconds.

However, on 3G or slower speeds, these wait times are often fantasies, not realities. The consequence is unhappy users: two-thirds of mobile users cite “webpages slow to load” as a recent frustrating experience on a smartphone or tablet.

The demand for fast internet is growing as more activites on mobile devices become internet based. According to Keynote, the top five activites on smartphones are accessing local information (maps, etc.), searching for general information, social networking, reading news, and finding local services (nearby banks, etc.).

Tablets get used in different ways but still demand the internet: popular activities include consuming news and entertainment and streaming videos, the latter of which is particularly data-intensive. Tablet users are also likely to engage in m-commerce.

And here’s the key data point: 16% of mobile users will not return or wait for a website to load if they decide to takes too long. A further 6% will go to a competitor’s website instead.

While websites can’t control whether their customers run on 3G or 4G networks, they can (and should) optimize their experience for mobile devices—something that not even Fortune 100 companies are doing.