Poorly designed, slow websites may cause consumers to stop using a company and choose a competitor instead, according to a survey from 1&1 Internet, published by PC Advisor.

Results from the survey show that 38% of UK consumers have abandoned a website that frustrated them and visited a rival company┬┤s one. Nearly half of the respondents admit they have become less tolerant about faulty websites than they were five years ago.

In fact, faulty websites appear to be far from a rare sight, at least in the eyes of consumers, as almost three quarters say they frequently come across faulty web pages. In addition, three in five users report significant variations in the quality of the websites they regularly use.

Overall, slow pages emerge as the most frustrating issue, with 71% of those polled citing speed as the main reason for leaving a website. Almost half of the panel abandoned sites that were temporarily unavailable due to maintenance and 44% were put off by broken links. The same proportion of users left pages where orders “freeze” and 42% lost patience with broken website pages.

In general, UK consumers expect websites to be fully functioning and available for shopping and browsing round-the-clock, the authors of the survey conclude.