I've just read an article on the Sydney Morning Herald site claiming: "According to a new report on consumer behaviour, four seconds is the longest that online shoppers are prepared to wait for a site to load before backing out of the transaction."
This is followed about two sentences later by: "It found that the average shopper will abandon an online store if forced to wait more than four seconds for pages to load."
So, either 4 seconds is the longest time shoppers are willing to wait - representing the extreme upper fringe; or it's what the 'average' user is prepared to wait before abandoning a process. Since these are two very different things, I'm currently trying to get my hands on a copy of the full report available from the report's sponsor Akamai (they're in the business of providing 'Content delivery, Application Performance Management, and Streaming Media Services').
After filling in the obligatory form on the Akamai site so that I can lay hands on the free copy of the report, I'm currently just getting the following:
"Service Unavailable - DNS failure
The server is temporarily unable to service your request. Please try again later.
I'll provide more information on this whole saga when Akamai corrects this little fault and gives me access to the report.