Ecommerce Stats: Hard Facts You Can Use to Boost Conversion in 2017 [+INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s not only your numbers you need to know in order to have a rock solid strategy.

You have to think ahead in ecommerce: you need to know the trends, the benchmarks, the most recent industrial statistics to be able not only to maintain growth but also to realize how you can outstrip your competitors.


We’re going to talk about the following:

  • The turnover of online commerce is steeply increasing
  • Average conversion and efficiency of the channels
    • How do the channels perform?
    • Mobile vs. tablet vs. desktop
    • Why do people switch to desktop when making the purchase?
    • Increasing risks
    • Segmenting conversion
  • How can you increase conversion (according to the statistics)?
    • The importance of communication
    • That’s why it’s worth tying the customer to you
    • A little help with segmentation
    • Why is social media important for you?
    • Why do people abandon the cart in your shop?
    • Is email your most powerful tool?
  • How to interpret the numbers?


The turnover of online commerce is steeply increasing


At the end of 2016 there are 3.7 billion internet users in the world, which means that approx. 50% of the total population have access to online services. More than 1 billion of them have already purchased products or services on the internet. (Furthermore, according to Invesp’s data, 80% of the online population have already used the internet to buy something, 50% of them did that more than once.)

The global turnover of ecommerce amounted to 1.55 trillion dollars already in 2015, in 2016 on the other hand, according to the Worldwide Retail Ecommerce Sales: The eMarketer Forecast for 2016 report it can reach even $1.9 trillion – which forecasts a 23.7% growth.

The trend is not going to break in the future either. According to the analysts, a global ecommerce turnover of $3.4 trillion is expected for 2019 and that of $4 trillion for 2020, obviously, mainly at the expense of brick-and-mortar stores.


Average conversion and efficiency of the channels


The database of Compass includes the data of merchants realizing a turnover of 13 billion dollars out of the global turnover of the ecommerce sector. The most recent 2016 data show that the average conversion rate in ecommerce is currently 1.33%.

This proportion is significantly higher in case of the best performing 10% with an average conversion of 3.6%.


How do the channels perform?


The analysis of the sources of the turnover also highlighted interesting facts.

One is in connection with organic turnover: while the average conversion rate is below the average (1.18%) here as well, it jumps above it (3.7%) in the best performing 10%. In case of direct turnover, the average is close to the average CR (1.46%), but this source of turnover performs highly better (3.98%) in the “elite group” here as well.

However, the most outstanding is still email.

Both on average and in case of the best online stores, the newsletters resulted in almost three times as high a conversion rate as the average CR: 3.84 and 9.89 percent, respectively.

This also proves that email is still the most powerful weapon in the hands of online marketing professionals, it simply cannot be left out of a well-built strategy, as you can count on a huge return if you use it.

Looking at the conversion rates on average, obviously doesn’t provide much substantial information. It reflects the effectiveness of the channels well, but the proportion of conversion of the various audiences on the individual markets depends on a lot of variables.

It depends on the product type, the campaign, the specific offer, the type of the audience, and so on.


According to another resource, the average conversion rates are the following:

  • 1% in case of new visitors
  • 5% in case of returning visitors
  • And the cart abandonment rate is 71.3%


This also shows how much even the surveys working with large samples and population can differ from each other. You can find somewhat different numbers at BigCommerce as well, the average conversion rate is between 2 and 3 percent according to their measurements.


Mobile vs. tablet vs. desktop


We can’t avoid looking at the individual types of devices one by one – the revolution, by the end of which mobile devices will dominate almost every field, is currently ongoing, regarding most of the metrics they have already swept the desktop from its throne, even if only marginally.

In 2016 the average conversion rates were the following.

In case of products cheaper than 100 dollars:

  • mobile 1.96%
  • tablet 2.72%
  • desktop 3.99%


In case of products priced between 100 and 175 dollars:

  • mobile 1.15%
  • tablet 2.25%
  • desktop 2.89%


In case of products more expensive than 175 dollars:

  • mobile 1.14%
  • tablet 1.73%
  • desktop 2.42%


It’s quite clear that the conversion rates in case of mobile still don’t really come close to those in case desktop computers, even though there’s no major reason for that nowadays, when everyone browses products and online shops on their mobiles.


The problem is rather that the merchants can’t keep up: newer and newer technologies keep emerging that also influence the mobile purchasing behaviour, however, building them into the purchasing process takes time. The majority of the merchants can react only within months or even years, and there are a shockingly lot of people who don’t even try to pick up the pace.


There are still some serious problems in the field of mobile optimization, despite the fact that today this is a primary criterion in the searches. Many web pages are still unable to load within 2 seconds, even though the majority of the users think they shouldn’t wait any longer than that for a web page to appear on their mobile.

If it takes only a second longer for your web page to load, the conversion can immediately drop by 7%, and if it takes more than 3 seconds in total for your page to load, you’ve already lost 40% of the visitors. On the other hand, if you decrease the load speed of the page from 8 to 2 seconds, you can increase conversion by 74%.

Only the fact that the web pages load slowly, results in an estimated loss of 500 billion dollars for the American ecommerce sector. It’s true that this is not always up to the online store, many times the hosting service provider simply can’t serve the increased traffic properly.


Why do people switch to desktop when making a purchase?


A report of Adobe Mobile highlights why exactly a lot of customers rather switch to desktop to make the purchase – namely, why they start the process on mobile and then finish it on desktop instead.

30% of them do so because they can use the given page more easily, can navigate on it more simply on desktop. In case of 26% of them, wanting to view the images in a bigger size (on a bigger screen) plays an important factor in the shift. By the way, this also shows how important high quality images are. Further 16% of them is less willing to purchase from the mobile because they can provide the payment information on the desktop more easily.

According to the data of Custora Ecommerce Pulse the share of desktop decreased by 5 percent (from 72 to 67 percent) between 2015 and 2016, while mobile increased from 18% to 24%. The trend is quite clear, still, even in case of such a spectacular growth it’s obvious that most of the e-merchants are unprepared, they don’t serve the needs of the users on the small screen.

Those who visit an ecommerce store on mobile, typically do that with a weaker purchase intention than those who do this from desktop. (you can read about segmentation based on intention in this earlier article.)


It makes sense, since people use their mobile rather for browsing, searching: when they have a free moment they remember to check out how much a given product costs, or perhaps to get to know more about something they saw on the street or in a commercial. They collect information but are not yet ready for an immediate purchase.


In the near future, the fact that a great number of online shops start using shorter and simpler checkout processes, thus improving the user experience, is what may have the biggest effect on this trend.


Increasing risks in ecommerce


Parallel to ecommerce playing an increasingly important role in the world economy, you obviously need to take new risks into account. Online stores need to pay special attention to security, to building a trustworthy brand, say the analysts of Rippleshot, since there are more and more web pages that try to get some money by misusing the data of the customers purchasing from mobile.

Although the technology for safe payment is already available, biometric scanning for example can be found in most new smart phones, the users are not really willing to use these for the time being.

Frauds are working with more and more sophisticated techniques, they hide in applications that help them obtain passwords, take people’s money, and they also take advantage of the fact that the majority of the users are not cautious enough while using their mobile.

For these reasons, operators of ecommerce stores have to pay special attention to make sure that the users consider them trustworthy.

Besides providing secure payment methods, this can be ensured by continuous two-way communication and transparency, and the availability of proper information concerning the ordering process.


Segmenting conversion


If you want to understand better how the different user groups use your online shop, you have to apply segmentation during the analytics process. We’ve already written in detail about segmentation, therefore, the only thing we are now going to review is which main groups you should study in order to be able to begin optimization.

First of all, you need to know how big the average conversion among the new, the returning and the registered customers in your ecommerce store is.


tips Tip: After this, you should examine how the different sources of traffic perform – how efficient, for example, Facebook or Instagram is, what proportion of those visitors purchase who found you using organic search etc.


Of course it’s worth examining the searches separately as well, you need to know for which keywords and search terms your shop is found (this will help you have more efficient SEO and will also help with advertisements).

Also monitor how the individual product categories perform. You don’t have to be discouraged because of a lower conversion rate either: if the conversion is only half in case of a ten times more expensive product, your revenues will still be higher.

Finally, you’ll certainly have to study how the individual campaigns performed, e.g.:

  • periodic promotions,
  • special events,
  • product launches,
  • the campaigns specifically targeted to the individual channels, etc.


It’s worthwhile for you to review these data at least once in a quarter, and to further fine-tune your strategy based on that.


Now let’s see the infographic in which we highlight those figures that are of high importance when creating your business startegy for next year: 


ecommerce stats


Cool infographic, isn’t it?

If you find it useful, please share it by clicking on one of the social site icons.

Which figure is most amazing to you? Write your comment at the end. Thanks!


How can you increase conversion (according to the statistics)?


One of the best techniques with which you can persuade many people into purchasing is to offer free delivery. Even if you calculate it into your prices, simply offering free delivery will encourage 9 out of 10 users to purchase.

Personalized offers are of vital importance – both inside and outside the online shop, that’s why it’s essential that you use retargeting properly. Statistics show that by making personalized offers to your audience you may increase the average conversion rate on average 5.5 times over.

According to the British statistics, approximately one third of the customers mentioned visibility of the brand (34%) and social interactions (38%) as the reasons for shopping in a given ecommerce store.


The importance of communication


The importance of communication is also represented in the surveys of Nielsen-McKinsey, according to which 17% of the consumers would recommend a brand specifically because it efficiently helps them in solving a problem – even if it does that slowly.

At the same time, 33% of them would also recommend a brand that responds quickly, but the provided solution is not necessarily effective. With the quick responses you can present yourself as being helpful, however, in the long run you may end up better off striving for efficiency, because like that, you can more easily educate return customers who trust you more. (Yet, obtaining a new customer will cost you 5 to 25 times more than persuading a loyal one into anotherpurchase.)

The image you show about yourself and what your customer service is like, may influence significantly how much people like shopping in your store – which is especially important, because nowadays, 40% of the customers check 3 or even more shops out when they want to buy something. According to 73% of them, it’s friendly communication and helpful customer service, and according to 55% of them, it’s readily available information is what helps them choose a given brand during online shopping.


And what should you do about those who have already purchased from you earlier but had a negative experience?You have to pay special attention to your customer service.

First of all: if a customer doesn’t get enough help, it’s 4 times more likely that he will purchase from your competitor in the end. However, if you are capable of solving their complaints effectively, 70% of them will be willing to return to you and buy from you again.

Furthermore, they are even willing to pay for a better customer service: 86% of the customers are willing to purchase at a higher price (even by 25%) in an online shop in exchange for a better user experience, the big proportion of which is the result of the kind of information they are provided with, and of how helpful you are with them.


That’s why it’s worth tying the customer to you


The best technique you can follow is not trying to reach new customers, but paying special attention to keeping the old ones.

But at the same time, you should also monitor the cart value: according to McKinsey, on the American market the average cart value in case of the first purchase is 24.5 dollars, the returning customers on the other hand spend an average 52.5 dollars per purchase in your store.

(You should use RFM segmentation that we mentioned in our article on segmentation. By using that, you can learn how often the returning customers purchase from you again, and you can develop more effective campaigns to address them.)

The various loyalty programmes work quite well for example, if you want people to spend more in your shop: customers, who are part of such programmes, spend on average 13% more than those who are not members.

  • You don’t necessarily need to think of offering discounts in these cases: sometimes it’s also enough if you come up with exclusive content, if you make certain pieces of content available for only the members, and so on. This way you won’t reduce your income, however, you’ll build trust towards your brand.
  • But if you award points, that also works: bonus points can bring you even 20% more visits a year from the returning customers. You should also bear in mind that if you don’t have any kind of loyalty programme, you are indeed lagging behind your competitors – members of an American household for example are members of 8.4 loyalty programmes on average.
  • You can award points not only for a purchase: you can reward customers for other actions as well, for example when recruiting new members, or when simply sharing your products, your pieces of content, or when sending you feedback or making product ratings.
  • We shouldn’t forget about coupons: 55% of the American internet users redeem coupons they receive on social media sites. Obviously, mobile coupons are the most efficient, which is not surprising: in 2016 already 83% of all the digital coupons were used through smart phones.


75% of the customers in total have already redeemed some kind of a coupon at least once. This clearly indicates that it’s worthwhile for you to use an online store engine that supports coupon deals, because by using those, you can efficiently increase the willingness to purchase.


A little help with segmentation


In addition to monitoring your own audience, you should also pay attention to what tendencies are dominating the market, because this will help you plan campaigns that effectively address audiences that are new and unknown for you.

Did you know that while less than one fifth (18%) of women have already bought some kind of a product or service by using their mobile phones, this proportion in case of men is noticeably higher (22%)?

You should also make sure to please those who purchase from tablets. Statistics show that there’s still a greater chance of the customers’ conversion on tablets than in case of smart phones. And they also spend more than those who arrive on the page from desktops.

Social responsibility may also be a factor for certain groups: 50% of the parents belonging to the Y generation for example, specifically like to shop at places where they also support some kind of a charitable purpose by spending their money.

Yet this is the age group that’s worth targeting the most: The “millennial” segment spends online annually more than any other one.

And of course, they make their purchases online. Thanks to the data of BI Intelligence, we know the following about the people belonging to the Y generation:

  • 43% of men and 31% of women typically purchase on auction sites
  • 40% of men and 33% of women would rather buy everything online
  • 30% of men and 28% of women purchase online typically through mobile phones


Approximately one fourth of them enthusiastically use the applications of the different online shops.


It’s always worthwhile for you to use applications: not only can your customers shop more effectively and pay more safely through these, but another big advantage of their use is that you can even address them with push messages any time, thus drawing their attention to the current sales offers that are for them.


Why is social media important for you?


If our previous articles haven’t yet convinced you that you need to build a significant online social media presence, the following statistics will definitely do.

The number of online sales realized through social media is increasing annually in total. Professionals predict a growth of approximately 50-80% for 2017.

According to the statistics of Invesp, no less than 5% of the global ecommerce turnover was generated by the social media already in 2015. This is partly thanks to the fact that nowadays you have the possibility of direct selling on most of the popular networking sites.

For example if you’d like to launch an online store within your own platform on Pinterest or on Facebook, you can do that without having too many difficulties.

And if you are present on social networking sites, you shouldn’t use it only for marketing. Yes, we are now emphasizing the importance of communication again, and that’s for a reason: 43% of the most valuable age group (18 to 29 years of age) use the social platforms of brands for customer service type conversations.

And your competitors haven’t yet outstripped you for good: according to the Harvard Business Review only 12% of the companies feel they are efficiently taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the social media.


Why do people abandon the cart in your shop?


tips Attention!: At present, approximately 75% of the customers leave the cart, that is, they choose products but don’t buy them in the end. According to some estimations, this proportion can reach as high as 90% in the next few years!


For this very reason, most online shops should use every tool to minimalize cart abandonment. Let’s see the most common reasons why your customers don’t make it to the check-out according to the numbers:

  • 56% of the users tend to check out without payment due to unexpected costs
  • 37% of them don’t yet have a strong enough purchasing intention, they are “just looking around”, as we say
  • 36% of them abandon their cart if they find a better offer elsewhere (at one of your competitors)
  • 32% of them don’t pay because they consider the total value too high
  • 13% are not willing to pay because the price is not displayed in their own currency
  • 25% of them abandon the cart if navigation on a page is too complicated
  • 15% abandon the cart if the page is too slow, if it doesn’t load in time
  • 24% abandon the cart if the webpage simply doesn’t appear


You can find out what you should do based on the following:

  • Information should always be available and clear: don’t hide any costs, in fact, the customer should always be able to see the total amount of their cart.
  • Make a quick and easily usable webpage where navigation doesn’t spoil user experience.
  • Always make sure that purchasing is as simple as possible: if you can leave a step out of the payment process, you should do so. The shorter the path, the better.


The data of Statista also show the reasons why people don’t purchase from you:

  • 61% of them don’t purchase because you don’t provide a good enough warranty
  • 44% because of the too high delivery costs
  • 22% because you don’t display the delivery costs at the appropriate place
  • 6% of them don’t purchase because the delivery is not fast enough


The issues concerning delivery play an important role, as the users visit a lot of shops where they can simply buy the product and take it home. They want to get what they want cheaply and quickly, and you have to respect that.


Is email your most powerful tool?


Most probably.

The longer the email list you have and the more you segment your offers, the more the returns will be after you run your email campaigns.


  • In case of a list of 5 thousand people you can achieve a 21.38% open rate, but only an average 2.76 orders.
  • On the other hand, in case of a list of more than 50 thousand people you can expect to get 34.69 purchase orders even if the average open rate is only 8.64% here.


The best is if you send out letters once or twice a month, that’s how you’ll most probably achieve the highest average open rate (25.24%) and conversion rate (0.27%). If you send out electronic letters, you should do that in the second half of the month, sometime between the 16th and the 20th, because that’s when the conversion rate is usually the highest.

The users open the greeting letters (45.67%), the promotion letters (18.8%) and the letters sent due to cart abandonment (47.1%) in the highest proportion. The conversion is the highest (4.64%) in the last case.


How to interpret the numbers?

Find the ones that are most relevant for you.

Does your campaign concentrate enough on the effective channels, tools, on the most lucrative segments?

Are there any problems with your page that typically lead to cart abandonment or to the visitors not opening your page at all?

Start from here, make your own measurements, and you can make sure that you’ll start the next year more prepared than your competitors.


12 replies
  1. Supreme Landscaping says:

    Hello and thanks for such a great post.

    I’ve been learning more and more about our Magento website as the months have gone by and I’m getting to like it more and more.

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read for a while and I look forward to reading more from you.

    Thanks very much.


  2. Supreme Landscaping says:

    Hello and thanks for such a great post.

    I’ve been learning more and more about our Magento website as the months have gone by and I’m getting to like it more and more.

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read for a while and I look forward to reading more from you.

    Thanks very much.


  3. Daniel Kerek says:

    Hi Peter, thanks a lot for your comment. Glad you like your Magento store and hope you’re making more and more sales with it.
    Is it already running on Magento 2? It seems it’s getting more and more popular among our clients.
    We’ll try to keep up our blogging standards, so welcome back any time : )

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  2. […] slower than your competitor. If you manage to decrease load time, you can expect sales to shoot up. Aionhill writes that conversion rates climb by 74 percent when loading speed goes from eight to two […]

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  4. […] Conversion rates can climb by up to 74 percent if loading speed is decreased from eight seconds to two seconds. (Source: Aionhill 2017) […]

  5. […] These ecommerce stats will help you rethink your business strategy for the coming year to better reach your customers and achieve higher sales figures.  […]

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