Global cart abandonment rates on the rise

Global cart abandonment rates rose by 2.4% between Q3 and Q4 2016, reaching 76.8% on average.

The abandonment data covers October, November and December last year, and of course covers the key holiday shopping season. The new data includes utilities and non-profit organisations, which tend to have higher abandonment rates than the average.

This does have the effect of pushing overall abandonment rates up, so it can be more useful to look at abandonment rates by sector, and the reasons for the differences.

As we can see from the chart, there’s a range of rates, from 67.4% for fashion retailers, to 84.4% for utilities. Let’s look at some of the reasons why…

Fashion: 67.4%

This is the lowest abandonment rate of any sector, and there could be a number of reasons for this.

  • Online fashion retail is very competitive and brands in this sector have, in general, had a close focus on user experience. Therefore the purchase process can be easier than for many other sectors.
  • Returns. Fashion sites often experience higher returns rates as people buy items in multiple sizes to find the right one, or buy knowing they can return easily. This can help to reduce abandonment rates.
  • A short consideration process. Unlike a major travel purchase which a customer may consider over several days or weeks, fashion purchases tend to be more immediate.

eGaming: 71.2%

This is a growing sector online, and a potentially profitable one. Abandonment rates are generally lower as customers can have a greater intent to purchase – they may want to place a bet in time for a major sporting event for instance.

In addition, eGaming sites tend to offer generous deals for new customers, something which can reduce abandonment rates.

Retail: 74.1%

Like fashion, retail ecommerce has become a very competitive market, and we’ve seen more attention focused on areas such as site optimisation and catering for mobile users.

It’s broadly similar to fashion in that the purchase process is generally shorter, while a focus on delivery and returns policies can help to reduce abandonment rates.

Travel: 81.6%

Though some travel purchases, such as hotel and flight bookings for business, are faster, it is generally a more considered purchase.

Indeed, Millward Brown found that users booking holidays take up to 45 days and visit as many as 38 travel sites. This kind of customer behaviour is likely to drive u abandonment rates as they take time to research their purchase.

We did some research into this in 2016, asking 1,000 consumers asking why they abandoned travel purchases. These were the reasons given:

  • 39% were just looking and had more research to do before making a decision.
  • 37% abandoned because of high prices and wanted to compare prices elsewhere.
  • 21% needed to check with other travellers before booking.
  • 13% felt the booking process was too long or complicated.
  • 9% experienced technical issues.
  • 7% had issues with payments or the payment method they wanted was unavailable.

Non-profit: 82.1%

Non-profits often lack the resources of retail ecommerce, with some surveys pointing at mobile optimisation and general digital skills as areas where some non-profits need to improve.

Progress has been made though. For example, 21% of non-profits were making sales or taking orders online last year. compared to just 10% in 2015

Utilities: 84.4%

It’s likely that the higher abandonment rates here are a result of the complexity of the process.

Switching utility suppliers requires key information on current bills and consumption, while forms are generally longer and more time-consuming to complete.

Therefore it’s no great surprise that abandonment rates are relatively high, though utility firms can work to improve the design of the quote and purchase process and reduce form abandonment.

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