And web merchants plan to invest an average of $1.4 million each in ecommerce technology from outside vendors in 2019, according to a new study from web performance vendor Yottaa.

It’s a good time to be an ecommerce vendor, according to a new January study based on interviews with 141 ecommerce executives from web performance vendor Yottaa.

The study finds that online retailers plan to invest $2.6 million on average to optimize their ecommerce operations in 2019 and more than half of that money—$1.4 million—will be spent on technologies from outside providers. $704,250 will be spent on custom site performance optimization, and retailers will spend $522,340 on search engine optimization and paid search.

Additionally, 54% of retailers interviewed cite website speed and performance as a key initiative in 2019. That may be because 62% say slow page load times are hurting their conversions. Meanwhile, 70% of retailers said they spend time and/or money on improving their site performance in preparation for the holiday season.

In addition, 92% of respondents believe that fast site performance results in higher online conversions, and 74% of merchants think shoppers will only wait 2 to 3 seconds for a page to load before leaving to shop another site. An outlying 5% think site performance doesn’t impact conversions. More than half (56% of merchants) plan to switch ecommerce platforms in 2019, the No. 1 response. (Site performance ranked No. 2.) 51% of merchants say personalization is a key initiative, the third most common response.

When it comes to ecommerce vendors, retailers are shopping around—perhaps realizing the breadth of options available today, the research finds. For example, 70% plan on swapping outside vendors this year. 61% believe they have multiple third-party technology providers doing the same thing and this is impacting both spend and performance. That means vendors have their work cut out to retain retailer clients. But the good news for providers is that 53% of retailers are planning to add at least three new vendor technologies to their sites in 2019.

The report also finds that retailers with lower web sales are impacted more by poor performing sites. For example, 47% of retailers with less than $200 million in online sales say their sites aren’t fast enough, while only 9% of merchants with more than $200 million in online sales say the same. Additionally, 55% of smaller merchants say shoppers leave sites because of slow loading pages while 18% of larger merchants say this. That could be a result of the difference in internal developer resources focused on performance between smaller and larger merchants. For example, only 11% of smaller merchants have four or more developers focused on site performance while 57% of larger merchants have that number or more.

Yottaa also asked retailers about their 2018 holiday season. It found that:

  • Retailers experienced 47% growth in website traffic during the “Cyber 5” key holiday shopping days that take place between Thanksgiving Day and the following Monday.
  • Smartphone traffic accounted for 54% of traffic over the Cyber 5 period.
  • Smartphone conversions grew 40.2% over Cyber 5.
  • Smartphone revenue grew 38.1% during those days.
  • Total conversions across all devices grew 22.3% during Cyber 5.
  • Revenue across all devices for retailers interviewed grew 10.1% during the period.