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Everyone hates a slow queue. Most hate a slow server even more. Online retailers need to get up to speed. Quickly.

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To paraphrase an old sporting phrase about winning, speed is not everything when it comes to online shopping. It’s the only thing.

The results of a survey suggest the online shopper is one in a hurry – tearing hurry, perhaps. The most impatient will exit if the web page doesn’t load in 15 seconds. And, believe it or not, that is a huge 44% of all shoppers. After 30 seconds, nearly 70% would give up and if a web page takes more than a minute to load, more than 90% would have walked away — perhaps to a rival shopping site.

“Some of the key sales drivers can be directly attributed back to the technology platforms that power the online store. Online shoppers are impatient,” Mark Randall, country manager of Rackspace Australia and New Zealand. “Carefully selecting a reliable and fast hosting solution, ideally with a Content Delivery Network capability, could mean that an online retailer greatly increases their chances of a successful sale.”

Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX), a global IT hosting and cloud computing company, commissioned the survey, conducted by Roy Morgan Research.

The other significant finding of the survey is the low use of smartphones or apps for online shopping. In fact, Australians are about half as likely as Britishers to use an app or a smartphone for online purchases.

“Australians don’t seem to have taken to shopping on their smartphones or using M-commerce apps quite yet, with the vast majority using their PC or laptop for online purchases,” said Randall. “More than 85% of respondents make their online purchases on their home computers.”

Among other findings:

  • 90% of Australians connected to the Internet shop online
  • Over 90% of shoppers are buying for themselves, rarely buying gifts for others
  • 83.2% prefer online shopping for its convenience
  • 71.1% prefer online shopping because of potential bargains, and 60.8 % did so because of the ability to compare prices
  • Only 47.4% did so for the “wider variety of products and services” available.

“Our survey indicates that online shopping in Australia is going strong and most Australians have and will continue to purchase online in 2012,” said Randall.

But “online retailers that don’t invest in website platforms that allows shoppers to easily browse through products, ensures that prices remain competitive, and deliver an overall convenient shopping experience could quickly lose business,” he added.

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