The average web page has now grown to over 1 megabyte in size – and there doesn’t seems to be any slimming down in the foreseeable future. That’s the conclusion of an article by Joshua Bixby for GigaOM. Using data from HTTP Archive, Bixby reports how average web pages have grown from 702 KB in 2010 to 1,042 KB in May of this year – a 48% increase in 18 months. (In fact, average size has grown to 1,068 KB since Bixby wrote his piece in May – 2.5%!)
The trend reflects users desire for rich content – images, videos and other features. Images themselves are the largest factor in page growth followed by scripts to integrate features with other sites, social sharing, etc. With Apple’s move to high-resolution Retina displays in their iPad and now MacBook line, the pressure to serve higher-quality images will no doubt increase.
With so few websites optimized (less than 21%) in any way for mobile, a smartphone user is forced to download the same large set of web page assets over a lower bandwidth connection that increasingly comes with monthly usage caps. So not only are mobile users getting slower experience, their getting one that costs more, too.
As we showed in our post How Load Times Affect User Satisfaction, longer page load times negatively affect the visitor but also the website owner. The longer the page load, the higher the rate of users leaving the site. That translates into lost engagement, lost sales and poor reputation.
Is the trend towards larger pages likely to slow? Bixby thinks not and predicts average page sizes will hit 2 MB by 2015.