Digital transformation has revolutionized the way businesses operate, offering consumers a wide variety of online alternatives to traditionally offline activities, whether it’s choosing a product, making a purchase itself, or building customer relationships when you have a business.
As a result of expanded functionality and capabilities, the size and environmental impact of websites has changed significantly. In the last 10 years, the size of websites on desktop computers and mobile devices has increased fivefold and more than tenfold respectively, with a corresponding increase in traffic and carbon emissions.
It’s not just the size and carbon footprint of websites that has changed, as the quality and size of online content, images, videos, and audio files has also improved and grown. According to the latest report from HTTP Archive, the average download size of websites has increased by 50% in recent years, mainly due to improvements in quality, as users now download high-resolution videos and larger images from websites within a single visit. This is also evident from a few facts:
- For images, the download size for computer downloads has more than doubled since the May 10 years ago, with the size of an image on May 1, 2013 being 3 KB, while on May 1, 2023 it jumped to 1003.5 KB. In the case of mobile image file sizes, the change is even more drastic with a 370% growth in the shorter time period analyzed, as at the beginning of May, 2013, the size of an image file was only 215.2 KB, while this year the same value has increased to 852.5 KB.
- As with images, we see big changes in the size of videos, measured in smaller time intervals, with videos on desktop at the beginning of May 2015 weighing 173 KB and videos on mobile 6 KB. Eight years later, these values have also seen a ballooning trend, with HTTP Archive’s research showing that at the beginning of May this year, videos on desktop exceeded 3555.5 KB and videos on mobile exceeded 4160.2 KB.
These values change from day to day, but the trend is clear, and so is that we need to pay close attention to exactly what files we upload to our website. We have already written about our approach of reducing the size of files, including image files, and the extensions we have tried in the past in this article.
Wondering how to make your business website more sustainable? Read our next blog article to find out!