Online stores have '10 seconds' to snare shoppers

Survey: most UK adults to buy online, but demand fast sites

Major players like Amazon and Play tend to fare well during peak-buying times

An October survey of 2000 British adults by OnePoll and commissioned by Rackspace Hosting shows online stores need to be ready for the upcoming holiday season, or lose out to rivals.

Results from the survey claim around 90 per cent of UK adults plan to buy at least some Christmas gifts online, and almost a quarter will be using tablets to do so. But Fabio Torlini, VP of Cloud at Rackspace, said that "over a third of busy shoppers will be gone in ten seconds if they have to wait for websites or apps to load," which means that "retailers need to prepare their web-based store-fronts for surges in demand by having the right cloud hosting service in place – especially if they offer discounts and other deals, which may instantly attract masses of bargain-hungry online shoppers".

However, the research is more than a warning about sluggish responses, also indicating changing trends. The shift towards mobile platforms for purchasing means more than ever stores need to, at the very least, ensure their sites are mobile friendly – usable at worst. If you've got a Flash-only offering, you can kiss goodbye to any sales from iOS users, for example. And other figures from the survey suggest you could snare shoppers with well-targeted special offers: 18 per cent plan to use smartphones to scan bar-codes in brick-and-mortar stores to compare prices with those online, while 19 per cent plan to scan QR codes.