Page speed is complicated, and there are many marketing claims around page speed. Therefore we decided to do a test on different platforms where we tested their featured / premium cases with their top agencies.
Average page speed on different E-commerce platforms
Headless VS Shopify VS WordPress & WooCommerce
We decided to test:
- Average page speed on Headless (We chose a few Swedish companies using Centra or Norse, two very capable platforms)
- Average page speed on Shopify
- Average page speed on Qala WooCommerce
The test was created to catch first impressions, therefore we focused on the front page of the shop.
The test was conducted in different periods mostly due to our general availability.
- Headless platforms were tested in October 2022.
- Shopify tested March 2023
- Qala WooCommerce tested March 2023
The result of this mapping is surprisingly that WordPress can be made to perform way above more expensive technology if packaged in the proper manner. Headless comes in far behind in second place, and Shopify goes in far below reasonable results.
Average page speed on Headless:
31 / 100
Average page speed on Shopify:
19 / 100
Average page speed on Qala WooCommerce:
64 / 100
What is performance?
Performance is a complicated matter and after doing some extensive work with performance ourselves moving on our Qala WooCommerce platform we consider the main elements being:
- Optimizing images so they are served in modern formats and always in the correct resolution
- Serving video byte-sized instead of in one big file
- Rebuilding CSS to serve what is critical first
- Telling the browser what to load first, what to load last and what can wait
- Only loading what’s needed, combining scripts etc
All of these things are super important and modern web development tools can help you a lot along the way.
Page speed scores for Headless sites
There are plenty of Headless sites out there. We browsed around some of the best cases from Centra and Norse in Sweden. Some of the finest brands are on these solutions and their websites are viewed by millions of people. Let’s get started!
Spotify.design is a beautiful site with a lot of neat, subtle animations. We love it.
But it’s not performant. Here is a screen grab from page speed insights (We removed the first bit to not have such a long screen grab).
Primarily the problem with the website is that it lacks a reasonable infrastructure. This means that there are 28+ MB of data to be transferred for this website. That’s not exactly great for performance, and it could have been avoided so easily with great standardisation and great infrastructure.
Let’s look at some other examples.
Absolutely stunning site! But their performance scores are way lower than we imagined. Built on Centra.
Very cool site and a great company that we’ve worked with and helped scale on Woo that’s now using headless. Built on Centra.
This company sells couches and is an acquaintance of mine. Built on Norse.
Not a great result. Built on Centra.
PS of Sweden
Yet another site that looks really good. Built on Centra.
Simple and good looking site. Built on Centra.
iDeal of Sweden
One of our old clients that we helped scale. With WooCommerce they had their highest turnover ever. Unfortunately, they have seen a huge drop in turnover since then. Built on Centra.
Great clothes and we love this site. Built by some very clever people. Norse and a custom platform.
Page speed scores for Shopify sites
This list was compiled by gathering some of the cases that Shopify themselves consider to be their greatest ambassadors.
Buzz Feed News
Page speed scores for Qala WooCommerce sites
WordPress is quite behind in performance, that is true. That is one of the reasons we have created Qala. Qala uses microservices as a way of extending WordPress functionality so that best-of-breed technology is used for things such as Image optimization, large database queries and so on.
This technology is either proprietary or unique, it is just very cleverly packaged together in a cost-efficient way creating huge value for money.
Our most recent release on the “Standard” tier.
Our most recent release on our lowest performance tier package.
Qala – Hybrid headless solution with great page speed out of the box
Are you interested in finding out more about Qala and how it can fit into your digital investment? Contact us today to book a demo.