Why your client's RAM is important to pass core web vitals

Summary: Nowadays, most phones have 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of RAM. Each step in memory has a different user experience. But which ones will end up on your website?

  • by Jordy Scholing
  • Published
  • Reading time ± 2 minutes
  • Core Web Vitals RAM
Why your client's RAM is important to pass core web vitals

Phones come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. The more expensive phones are likely to have more RAM. This allows a website to load faster and the phone to handle heavier tasks quickly.

The first question we always ask clients is if they know who their target audience is. Is it mostly people with a high-end device or people with a low-end or mid-end device?

When you start optimizing this is the most important thing to know so you know who to optimize for.

How do I know what my audience uses?

Annie Sullivan, a software engineer on Google Chrome tweeted something really interesting about USA users.

In the US, we're still seeing over a quarter of Android devices with 2GB RAM or less. That's a lot of low-end devices! When you test your site's performance, are you testing on these devices? Have you tried using one day to day?

And she makes a good point, more than 25% of US users have a low-end device.

However, this is global data and it may be different for each case. For example, if you sell luxury goods you will see that the number of low-end devices drops quite a bit.

What our data shows

We have done a sample with 4 dutch webshops and this is what we see:

  • 1GB = 0,18%
  • 2GB = 8,07%
  • 4GB = 61,27%
  • >8GB = 30,48%

With this data, we can see that dutch websites face a completely different challenge than US websites. For example, they would get away with a lot of JavaScript on their website more easily.

But even with fewer low-end devices, there is a lot of difference per case. As you can see in the case below more than 50% of the users have more than 8GB of RAM, but this is way above average. This is an example of a webshop that sells luxury goods and for that reason has an audience that is more likely to buy the newest flagship phone.

As I said before they don't have to prioritize optimizing certain things and will more likely pass core web vitals, but a "regular" dutch webshop will face the same challenges on their last 8% of bad UX as USA webshops with their last 25%.

The reality for developers

Fortunately for our wallets, not all webshops sell luxury goods. But for developers, this makes it more challenging to pass core web vitals.

If you don't know who your audience is you can miss the mark completely. For example, in the case below, NextJs was used, a JavaScript-heavy framework.

JavaScript is the biggest bottleneck when it comes to low-end devices. In fact, their audience wasn't ready for this at all, because as you can see, about 60% have less than 8GB of RAM.

If they had known their audience they most likely would've made a lot of different choices and were able to succeed core web vitals a lot easier.

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