Our compilation comparing average conversion rates for retail sites and other industry sectors
As you will know, conversion rates are often used as a KPI to review the effectiveness of e-commerce sites. Naturally, all site managers and owners want to know, "how do our conversion rates compare?"
In this post, I have compiled different free industry sources focusing on retail e-commerce conversion. At the end of this article, we also feature an analysis of landing page lead generation conversion rates by industry sector towards the end of the post. We keep this compilation updated as new conversion data is published.
How is e-commerce conversion rate measured?
When benchmarking conversion, it's important to consider the denominator. Are you dividing the number of sales by number of unique visitors or visitor sessions?
In Google Analytics, which can be considered the standard reference, sales transactions are divided by visits. E-commerce Conversion Rate is defined by Google as:
"The ratio of transactions to sessions, expressed as a percentage. For example, a ratio of one transaction to every ten sessions would be expressed as an Ecommerce Conversion Rate of 10%".
Before we get to the stats, a couple of caveats on benchmarking conversion rates:
When benchmarking conversion rate, we think it's important to explain to marketing managers that they should go beyond headline conversion rates to segment conversion by different types of visitor.
To see why, take a look at Dan Barker's excellent post explaining why conversion rate is a horrible measure to focus on...
August 2020 update
Conversion benchmarks by retail sector
This recent update is from the Adobe Digital Index 2020 report into consumer electronics that compares conversion to these other sectors. The wide variation in conversion by sector is clear here, showing the importance of comparing to similar sectors where possible.
This research from Episerver retail clients Q1 2020 (based on 1.3 billion unique shopping sessions across 159 unique retail and consumer brand websites) shows a typical pattern. Conversion rates are significantly higher where consumers have higher intent, i.e. they are searching for products. This compares to social and display referred visits where conversion rates are significantly lower.
Retail conversion rates by device
The Monetate e-commerce Quarterly is a great source giving regularly updated with United States and United Kingdom benchmarks on conversion segmented by devices and media for large e-commerce brands.
With shoppers increasingly using smartphone and tablet to purchase, it's vital for online retailers to know which conversion benchmarks they should be achieving on a smartphone device. Globally, the average order value on a desktop is 55% higher than on a mobile phone.
The latest data was published by Monate is from Q1 2020. The full report also includes average add-to-basket rates.
Further insight is available on conversion rates by operating system:
This shows that iOS conversions are slightly higher than Android, and Windows conversions are significantly higher than Mac. It's unclear to what extent this is based on usability against other demographics.
European retail conversion rate KPIs
Wolfgang Digital has a useful new E-commerce 2020 KPI report based on data from their European and US-based international clients. It's based on an analysis of over 130 million website sessions and over €330 million in online revenue between November 2018 - October 2019.
This chart compares the average conversion rate, conversion rate per user, and average order value.
Omnichannel conversion rates
Compilations of published conversion rates often only consider online conversion to sale. New research by Google and Wolfgang Digital shines a light on ‘research-online purchase-in-store’.
"By uploading Point Of Sale information to Google, retailers can now match in-store purchasers with online ad clickers, gaining further visibility on the success of their campaigns."
The results speak for themselves: digital marketers saw an extra 168% in revenue in their in-store sales, on top of what was made online.
What are the reasons consumers are less likely to buy on smartphones?
The comScore Mobile Hierarchy report has some useful insight into this, which retailers can use to improve their service or messaging to reassure consumers.
Google Ads mobile conversion rates across different industry sectors
The 2020 cross-industry Google Ads clickthrough rate and conversion benchmarks show that:
The average conversion rate in Google Ads on mobile across all industries is 4.1% on the search network and 0.6% on the display network.
It's no surprise that the conversion rate in the search network is much higher than in the display network since, in the search network, searchers are typing in product and brand names when they have a specific intent. This isn't the case in the display network where they are responding to banner and text ads, typically on publisher sites.
The results from 18 industries could be useful if you are a startup modeling conversion rates as part of a business plan, or if you want a top-level comparison for your activities with others in your industry.
Of course, the outcome that is measured as conversion rate will vary according to sector and depending on the type of keyword, brand searches always have higher clickthrough and conversion rates than generic searches, for example. For retail, the outcome will be conversion to sale, but in many other sectors show, the conversion will be converted to lead.
E-commerce conversion funnel
This funnel-based view of the conversion process is useful since as well as the average basket and sales conversion rates, it also shows the conversion rates to product page views which aren't published so often:
As would be expected, the number of sessions with product page views is much higher than the other micro-conversions, approaching 50 percent. This provides a useful benchmark and prompts retailers that it's useful to assess conversion to product page views when making site design improvements.
It also reminds us of the value of following up on interest in specific products and categories via sending personalized browse abandon emails which is the focus of the source of this post discussing best practices for browse abandons.
Mobile retail conversion rates
The average conversion rate by sector for Desktop vs Mobile vs Tablet are reported by Zukio performance benchmarks August 2020. Overall we can see a higher rate of conversion on Desktop with an average of 47%. Mobile and Tablet conversion rates are similar but slightly lower than desktop conversion rates, suggesting people are increasingly comfortable with the experience of buying on tablets.
This report from the Comscore Global Mobile Payments report has a simple table breaking down the share of time spent online. It shows that the share of mobile spending grew in 2019 all continents below except for a 1% fluctuation in Latin America.
If you're creating a business case for mobile-optimized sites as explained in our E-commerce mobile and desktop wireframes guide, this data is also valuable since it shows the variation in conversion rate by mobile devices type.
Conversion rates by channel
Options for segmenting conversion rate
As Dan Barker suggests in his advice we mentioned at the start of this post, conversion rate gets more useful as you break it down by different types of visitors with different intent and a different relationship with the retailer.
Different conversion rates and average order values can then be segmented for different audiences to understand and work to improve the quality of traffic or strength of propositions, for example:
- First time, repeat visitor or registered customer conversion
- Referring channel conversion, e.g. paid or natural search, social media, affiliates, display advertising
- Search type, e.g. paid or natural, brand, generic or long-tail
- Product category type - conversion rates are much higher for simple commodity products for example - flower purchase (double-digit percentage) compared with a higher cost product that will often be purchased in-store (for example beds or furniture which will often be less than one percent).
- Promotion type or seasonal sale - the IMRG data and Coremetrics data below shows that conversion rates can increase dramatically at these times.
Lead generation and landing page conversion rates by sector
This landing page lead generation conversion rate research from Unbounce reports lead conversion rates by industry. Industries covered include business-to-business, Travel, Healthcare, Legal and Education sectors.
The chart shows wide variation within and between sectors with some businesses achieving lead generation conversion rates much higher than the media. So, to compare against your rates it's best to look at the media rates which vary between 2.8% and 6%.
Form completion conversion rate comparison
Another source to use for benchmarking lead generation efficiency which has unique insight breaking down the process by sector is provided by the Zuko form performance benchmarks August 2020.
Form types include purchase, enquiry and registration and most we track are transactional forms of various kinds, but you can see the breakdown in those reports too
This shows that typically only one-third of people start entering data into the form, showing the value in AB testing to ensure you make the value of completing the form via the title, copy, imagery and follow-up clear. Overall, just under half typically complete each form.