Latest Statistics on Ecommerce


Jason Caplain has posted some interesting ecommerce statistics that were revealed by Forrester Research Director Carrie Johnson. From Caplain's post:

- As prices of technology are falling, number of users online are increasing, but avg household income is falling.

- #1 reason that prevents some people from shopping online is they don't want to enter in personal information. #2 is that they actually want to touch the product.

- Online sales should reach 200 billion this year (40 billion of that is travel related).

- But as the growth of the number above slows, companies selling online need to realize that it will be about stealing away market share from competitors.

- And something I was surprised to hear: cart abandonment is pretty high, over 50%.

The statistics were revealed during this week's eTail event.


Forgive me for commenting

Forgive me for commenting without reading the article; however, I think that some things need to be clarified.

#2 - Touch the product.
While this sounds good, as a blanket statement, it's faulty reasoning. It may be true, say for clothing, but can't be true for all products. If it's a CD or a book or downloadable software, I don't need to touch it. <I'm not sure I've ever touched software.> I *do* need to know that the product will do what I want and that the company I'm buying from is trustworthy.

Shopping Cart Abandonment
This has always been high. However, I have to wonder how much of that number is comprised of people playing with the site -- going into the shopping cart to see how it works or, for sites that (incomprehensibly) only put the product price in the shopping cart, how many were not ready to purchase but just wanted to know how much it cost? How many were thinking about it but were not yet ready? I know that I've occasionally checked out reasonably costly software a number of times before actually purchasing it. Hmmm; I also have to say that I've probably ended up buying most of what I've wanted, if not at the absolute second I originally considered it.

What say ye, in that case, about "shopping cart abandonment"? Was it abandoned, by me? Yes. Did that mean something dire? No. Not when they eventually got their $500+ per product. Plus future upgrades.

This also ignores what we in the U.S. call "window shopping" -- the practice of looking through a store without the intention of buying at that moment. Do in-store statistics count how many people look without buying (and then post dire percentage predictions)? Or do they rightfully consider that that may be part of the buying process? Same with the Web, where consumers may look many times before buying, or going to the brick/mortar to buy.

One word: statistics
Statistics in the absence of clarifying factors mean what? <grin>

Shopping cart abondanment

That seems high in my uninformed opinion, but who cares? I routinely blow off 70% of my inbound traffic right at the landing page because they won't enter personal info at that point. The other 30% makes it all worthwhile.

Good point Diane about incomprehensible shopping carts. One of Canada's larger online computer parts retailers doesn't display shipping charges until after you enter cc info. Yeah, I've abandonded twice there - and I was ready to buy both times. I even contacted them about this, AFAIK it still works that way.

Right. I even window shop

Right. I even window shop online, and then may buy at the local brice/mortar simply because I want something now (a little more cost, perhaps, but no shipping charges).

I may also look at something for a while. Like this 45 inch LCD monitor. Haven't bought it yet, but ...

i'd be interested in seeing

i'd be interested in seeing the shopping cart abandonment rate of established, reputable companies like amazon vs smaller ecommerce shops to see how much of a role brand plays. it'd also be interesting to see shopping cart abandonment rate of returning customers vs first time customers.

ultimately though i think a lot of it boils down to usability; i visit so many sites that with just a few usability tweaks could probably improve their conversion significantly. there is so much that more advanced internet users take for granted in terms of usability; today, for instance, i met a person who had trouble understanding how drop down menus and submit buttons worked on a web page. it wasnt that she was not intelligent enough to grasp the concept; it was just that it did not seem intuitive to her, as pretty much computers in general did not seem intuitive to her.

IMHO things like chat button could really help diminish the magnitude of that type of a problem and increase confidence and trustworthiness in making a purchase. although ultimately i think usability is a hard problem to solve for a lot of sites.

I thought the article was lame

Sorry, but not much meat on that bit of link bait.

The other 30% makes it all worthwhile

Wheel - Didn't you post about this experience of yours? I was looking for it the other day and couldn't find it... if you happen to know the location I would appreciate it.

I just tested this data...

I just made the rounds of buying (or trying to buy) a custom rubber stamp online. Geesh, I would have thought they would have mastered that one by now. I confirmed that 100% of the shopping carts I filled were dropped. I didn't want to, but I had to!

Normally I simply ask for what I need, and somebody gets it for me locally. I know I paid less than $20 for the last one and I had it a few hours after I asked for it. Probably a local store made it on demand... I didn't ask.

This time I ran into websites that redirected to 404s, websites that admitted they can't interact without IE as the browser (and then demonstrated they can't handle IE either), and many whose business plan seems to be get-the-client-to-invest-time-designing-stamp-before-hitting-them-with-high-shipping-charges. Hah..can't fool me. There are now a few dozen Tom Jones 10 Main Street Anytown USA stamps in abandoned shopping carts around the world.

To blame bad business operation reflected in abandoned shopping carts on ecommerce is ridiculous. I dumped more than 10 carts in 30 minutes and it had nothing to do with my ecommerce buying habits separate from my traditional consumer behavior.

>- Online sales should reach

>- Online sales should reach 200 billion this year (40 billion of that is travel related).

I had no idea travel was such a huge chunk of that. But then, I don't like to travel.

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