Average Ecommerce Conversion Rates

  • 1
  • September 24, 2009
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Over the last couple of years the world has become a lot more focussed on maximising conversion rates and it’s a fascinating subject. Helping somebody increase their conversion rate from 1% to 2% and doubling their entire revenue in the process is pretty satisfying.

The main thing to remember with conversion rate optimisation is that not all industries are the same and there is no such thing as an “average conversion rate”. The chart below shows some of the leading performers on the web in terms of conversion rates and probably has a lot of you mentally calculating how much money your site would make with 35% conversion to sales!

Top retailers by conversion rate

We see conversion rates dropping down significantly for higher priced items, sometimes below 1%. Conversely lower priced items and last minute purchases such as flowers & gifts tend to attract sky high conversion rates.

Conversion rates do of course vary depending on the source of the traffic and a site with lot’s of brand search traffic will do better on average than a site relying on SEO for traffic. Likewise a really successful SEO campaign can actually lower conversion rates by sending irrelevant traffic so it’s important to take this into account and look at the bottom line rather than worry that the actual rate of conversions is a bit low.

Coremetrics publishes some interesting aggregate data showing that the average conversion rate across all industries in the UK is 3.04% with conversion rates from natural search slightly higher at 3.16% for March 2009.

Coremetrics UK conversion rates

Another interesting piece of information from Coremetrics is that shopping cart abandonment stands at 50.1% in the UK compared to 65.61% in the US. Why do people add items to their cart and then never proceed to purchase? People in the US people are buying 5.8 items per order compared to only 2.3 in the UK so does this make them more afraid to make the purchase?

Coremetrics US conversion rates