Sephora, Walmart Top Mobile App Download Speeds

Sephora (at 3.9 seconds per download) and Walmart (4.1 seconds per download) have the fastest download times, according to a study of 15 retail apps from mobile content delivery network PacketZoom.

Compare that to the molasses-paced Zappos download times which average 46.2 seconds. That is a full 11 seconds longer than the second slowest app, Zulily (25.2 seconds). Other retailers in the study include:

  • QVC (7.8 seconds);


  • American Eagle (8.1);

  • iHerb (9.7);

  • Target (14.4);

  • Victoria’s Secret (14.9);

  • Sam’s Club (15.3);

  • Charlotte Russe (15.6);

  • Wanelo (24.6);

  • Kohl’s (26.4);

  • Forever21 (31.1); and

  • The Home Depot (31.7).

Excess data flow is the primary reason for such a wide gap between the top and bottom performers. While Sephora measures in at 337 KB transferred, Zappos weighs in at an overwhelming 6,625 KB. Both Sephora and Walmart adopted a design that promotes more network requests while keeping the page lightweight (low KB), thereby ensuring faster load times.

If consumer expectations are any indication, most of these retailers will need to improve their download speeds. As many as 61% of consumers expect pages within mobile retail apps to download completely in four seconds or less, according to Dynatrace. Anything longer than that and retailers risk frustrating their users and having them abandon the app, or perhaps uninstall it completely.

In order to optimize app page download times, PacketZoom recommends proper testing and monitoring, using real devices, taking place during the design stage and not after the fact. Brands that are ranked high are likely to use either advanced mobile acceleration technologies or a minimal design approach (or both).  

The PacketZoom Mobile App Retail Index benchmarks the performance of select popular retail applications. The Index focuses on the most frequently visited page of each app and ranks them by average download time. The variability in download time is a result of both app infrastructure and design methodology.

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