Neither did I, but I'm pretty sure that benchmarks showed that 8 was faster than 7 (and I assume 8.1 is faster as well).
Reality is that I didn't notice much difference between vista and 7 when 7 came out. I liked 7's UI more, but at that point, vista wasn't bad. I definitely liked it better than XP by 2009.
What benchmarks showed "8 was faster than 7"? And don't say Battlefield 4 because the exception proves the rule.
Faster bootup? Except its not, everyone is simply razzle dazzled by 8's hybrid resume trick. Doing a full init boot, they're the same.