New research from Adobe suggests that a digital divide is rapidly emerging when it comes to website design.

The Adobe Digital Index Best of the Best Benchmark for APAC shows that while most websites hover around 'average' in the index, the top 20 per cent (what Adobe calls 'the best of the best') are seeing increased revenue growth tied to six key performance indicators, such as smartphone and tablet traffic, stick rate, visits-per-visitor, time spent on site and conversion rate.

"For conversion rates alone, the 'best of the best' websites in industries that sell online deliver nearly double the average conversion rate. They are proving that making a commitment to digital excellence can result in a significant increase in revenue," Adobe Digital Index principal analyst, Tamara Gaffney, said.

For example, websites optimised for smartphone visitors outperform average sites by 6.9 per cent, and the best of the best sites achieve about 5 per cent more tablet visits than the average.

Particularly important for retailers is website stickiness -- that is, the ability to keep visitors on your site, measured by visits that last more than one click. Adobe says that the best websites in the index are showing high stick rates of 66 per cent in comparison to average websites that stand at 46 per cent.

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"Across Asia-Pacific, those marketers delivering best in class are on par with top marketers around the world. For example, we can see that stick rate is higher across Asia Pacific than in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. This is a leading indicator of two important elements of website success -- optimised marketing acquisition activities and homepage relevance and engagement," Gaffney said.

Time spent on websites which is the best metric for site engagement for best of the best websites increased by 32.1 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012 whilst it was a mere 1.2 per cent increase for average websites.

The index also measures user loyalty, with return visitors for the best of the best websites was 34.9 per cent higher.

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