Report: Conversion & Add-To-Cart Rates Have Been Declining For A Year

Conversion rates have fallen on smartphones and desktop in the U.S., but tablets are a surprising bright spot.

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With the exception of a fourth quarter holiday bump, conversion rates and add-to-cart rates have been falling over the past year, according to a new report from Monetate.

The Q1 2015 Ecommerce Quarterly report, which analyzes a random sample of more than 7 billion online shopping experiences using “same store” data across each calendar quarter, shows these declines happening in spite of the average number of product pages viewed per session going up — from 2.09 a year ago to 2.28 — year-over-year in the first quarter of 2015.

Overall, average conversion rates have fallen from 2.54 percent in Q1 2014 to 2.32 percent in Q1 2015. Add-to-cart rates have dropped from 8.31 percent a year ago to 7.39 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Below is a chart from the report showing conversion rate benchmarks by device over the past five quarters. (The report also has a chart showing conversion rate by operating system.) Note that tablet conversion rates have actually gone up year-over-year in all markets shown. This echoes what Google’s head of search ads, Jerry Dischler, told the audience at SMX Advanced earlier this month about the trend they have been seeing in tablet conversions as well.

declining ecommerce conversion rates

Source: Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly Report, Q1 2015

Smartphone conversion rates have fallen in the U.S. from 1.19 percent in Q1 2014 to 1.08 percent in Q1 2015. Traditional, or desktop, conversions have also dipped globally overall and in the U.S. In contrast, Great Britain has seen conversion rates improve across the board. Smartphones converted better year-over-year, increasing from .83 percent to 1.31 percent, in Great Britain.

More bad news from the report: bounce rates are up and average order values (AOV) are down. Monetate says desktops drove the increase in bounce rates while smartphones, now 20 percent of ecommerce traffic, are to blame for the declining AOV.

The report suggests personalization of product recommendations can make big improvements for retailers and cites several case studies. This is, of course, in part self-serving because it’s what Monetate does, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless. The report also includes many more benchmark charts like the one above. It can be downloaded here.

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About the author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin was formerly Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day-to-day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin wrote about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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