Conversion rate information is one of the most protected data on the web. You should expect such secrecy. Website owners do not jump on the idea of sharing their website’s performance with competitors. While many tools available can estimate the number of visitors a website receives, limited software options may determine any website conversion rate.
The question now is: what is a good conversion rate?
The answer: it varies. What’s great for one industry might be below par for another.
The key is to understand the average e-commerce conversion rate and benchmark your performance against it. Once you know whether you are meeting the average for your industry, you can work to improve conversion rates until you’re in the top 10 percentile of performers.
If your website is converting at around the average mark, you are under-performing.
Understanding Average Conversion Rates
The first thing you should understand is that conversion rate is highly contextual. A store selling high-end electronics isn’t going to have the same conversion rate as one selling $10 t-shirts. Similarly, a store with a loyal email list of 100,000 hungry buyers will see far better conversions than one buying cold traffic off Facebook.
Some of the variables that impact conversion rate include:
- Product type
- Product cost or average order value
- Traffic source
- Device (mobile, tablet or PC)
- Platform (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc.)
Furthermore, the term “conversion rate” is generally used to signify the % of visitors that turn into customers. You might have different goals you are trying to optimize for (say, % of visitors who add a product to cart, download a lookbook or fill a contact form, etc.).
The term “average conversion rate,” thus, can be a bit misleading.
1. Average Conversion Rates of E-commerce Websites
As of Q2 – 2018:
- The average ecommerce conversion globally is at 2.86%
- The average ecommerce conversion in the US is at 2.63%.
- The average ecommerce conversion in UK is at 4.31%.
Let’s compare how the ecommerce conversion rates vary globally, the US and the UK since 2014:
Data Source: Monetate
Historical Average Conversion Rates For E-commerce Websites
In the early 2000s, Shop.org reported the average e-commerce website converted 3% of its traffic into customers.
In 2014, MarketingSherpa pointed that the majority of stores had conversion rates in the range below 1% up to 5%, with few companies reaching higher rates.
Average E-commerce Conversion Rate by Device
As of Q2 – 2018:
- The average ecommerce conversion for desktop is at 3.83%
- The average ecommerce conversion for mobile is at 2.03%
- The average ecommerce conversion for tablet is at 3.84%
Average “Add to Cart” Rates
The percentage of visitors click on the add to cart button when they get to a product page on an ecommerce site varies globally, the US and the UK:
Average Conversion Rate On Freemium Products
Companies offering freemium products are able to reach high conversion rates. Slack, for instance, converts 30% of free subscribers into premium paying customers. These are the conversion rates of some freemium providers, according to Business 2 Community.
Highly Motivated Visitors Drive Higher Conversions
In a famous conversion experiment, you give ten people a credit card. Direct them to an e-commerce website. Ask them to buy a particular item the store carries.
How many of these ten people are able to complete the purchase?
Remember, they are only required to perform the purchase. They are not spending their own money. All they have to do is navigate to a site, find an item, add it to their shopping cart and successfully finish the checkout process.
Logically, you would guess that at least eight of the testers should complete the task.
Wrong! When the experiment was done, only two were able to accomplish the goal of buying the item. If only two concluded the checkout process under these circumstances (full motivation and no fears or objections), it is no wonder that everyday consumers do not convert on the web.
Try running the same test for your website and examining the results.
Understanding Your Website Visitors: Browsing Vs. Converting
Visitors’ intent as they browse your website has a direct impact on your conversion rates. Are visitors coming to your website to research products with the intention of buying online? Or are they taking information from your site back to brick-and-mortar stores to buy there? It depends on the nature of the product you offer and how visitors view it. This answer is focused on visitor-centric information and not on factors you control, such as website messaging, design, copy, etc. These are the three different categories of visitors’ intent:
- Browse online / buy online: clothes, event tickets, books and toys, or making reservations
- Higher browse online / Lower buy online: Electronics, computers, sporting goods
- Lower browse online / Higher buy online: airline tickets
So, what can you do with this categorization? Think about your own website and consider the type of browsing vs. buying of your average consumer. If you know that visitors tend to use your website for research but do not convert online, what can you do to convert more visitors into buyers?
No matter how many disclaimers and “it depends” replies I give the companies, they always want to know if they are doing “good enough” and what exactly that “good enough” would be. They want a number to compare themselves against.
Usually, I stick to my “it depends” strategy. But sometimes I relent. What you see above is an example of this.
Have a look at the numbers but don’t feel attached to them. Just see if you are in a top half or your industry, a bottom half, or an outlier. This is only an indication of how companies in a similar industry (but not necessarily similar business models) are doing, on average.
PS. Don’t worry if you’re not in the top 10% or if you are in the bottom half. You could be doing an outstanding job either way. Or you could need improvement. The global numbers won’t tell you that.