Where’s the e-commerce industry moving?
This is a question every marketer needs to know but rarely have the answer to.
Sure, you might have a gut feeling, but nothing beats having concrete evidence that can help you build the best marketing strategy for your e-commerce store.
Understanding the modern shopper is key if you want to survive in the competitive e-commerce market. You need to have an idea of what consumers expect and look for when shopping online, and adapt your e-commerce to not only meet but exceed those expectations.
In this article, I’ll give you 31 e-commerce statistics to help you better understand today’s consumers and their shopping habits, along with concrete takeaways and examples to help you develop an effective marketing strategy.
Want Some Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies?
Optimizing your e-commerce is TOUGH. To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive CRO toolkit, including 100+ CRO techniques we’re using to improve Sleeknote’s conversion rate (ranked for your convenience).
E-commerce statistics on online spending and demographics
1. 53% of global internet users have made an online purchase in 2016 (US Department of Commerce)
With more than half of the world’s population making purchases online, it’s become more important for businesses to establish an online presence.
It’s not just about being present online, but acquiring and retaining customers that will keep your business flourishing.
With fierce competition online, you need to stand out and give potential customers a unique experience that provides value.
In other words, have a good value proposition.
- Conveying a clear, easily understood message
- Speaking to the unique value your business provides
- Target a specific market segment (read: marketing persona)
- Communicate a clear promise regarding the benefits you’re delivering
2. 67% of Millennials prefer to shop online rather than in-store (BigCommerce)
Millennials have a strong purchasing power. They were born into a digital reality, and therefore, technology is a crucial part of their DNA—making it easy to understand why they prefer to shop online.
To target Millennials, you must market your product in a way they can identify with.
Millennials view the products they buy as an extension of their image. If a product doesn’t have a positive effect on their desired self-image, they won’t purchase it.
You need to sell them on the story. What is the scenario in which your product will help them overcome a problem or make them feel better?
Storytelling isn’t just effective when marketing to Millennials, but also for all other types of consumers. The difference lies in what story you’re telling and how you adapt that story to specific audience segments.
3. Parents spend 61% more online than non-parents ($1,071 vs. $664) (BigCommerce)
Parents spend almost double the amount of money online than non-parents.
This isn’t surprising when you think about it.
Having children is a full-time job, and naturally, it leaves consumers with less time to go shopping.
The Internet gives parents the opportunity to shop at different places, at any time, and in a matter of minutes.
This is why it’s important that you make your shopping experience as seamless as possible and optimize your checkout process for your audience.
4. Men reportedly spend 28% more online than women (BigCommerce)
Haven’t we all (women) dragged our significant other along on a shopping spree, only to have him end up in a coffee shop waiting for us to finish?
Men are all about being effective, and that’s exactly why they love to shop online instead of offline (okay … I’m generalizing here, but you get the point).
In fact, 40% of US males aged 18-34 say they would ideally buy everything online.
Once again, creating a seamless and efficient customer experience on your site will increase conversions.
Further, offering related products and package deals can increase sales significantly when selling to the male audience.
Dollar Shave Club does this perfectly:
They know what their customers want and which products they typically buy together.
They also try to tempt customers to add related items to their first purchase:
Offering related products during checkout makes it easy for customers (both men and women) to quickly add items without having to abandon their cart to search for more products.
5. It’s 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one (Invesp)
We all know the importance of winning new business…
But it can’t come at the expense of your existing customers.
Second time customers are 53% more likely to place a third order, and by the time they’ve placed their tenth order, they’re 83% more likely to buy again.
Retaining existing customers doesn’t just save you resources, it also saves you time.
Most of your customer retention efforts can be automated via email. These emails include follow-up emails, cart abandonment emails, reactivation campaigns, and more.
I’m not telling you to stop acquiring new customers (that would be economic suicide), but rather to spend some time developing a customer retention strategy that will save you both time and money in the long run, and then you can go back to reel in new business.
Online shopping statistics based on device
6. 72% of e-commerce purchases are still made on desktop (WebsiteSetup)
E-commerce statistics like to report mobile is the future and online purchases are increasingly being made on mobile devices.
While desktop is still the preferred device for online shopping, mobile is becoming more and more important if you want to run a successful e-commerce.
The solution is to focus on both desktop and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Responsive design is no longer enough. You need to have a specific mobile optimized site along with an intuitive desktop experience.
7. Millennials are 53% more likely to have a shopping app on their mobile/tablet than other generations (VWO)
Millennials are also referred to as digital natives—they’ve grown up in a digitalized world where there’s an app for almost anything.
Shopping apps make it easy for consumers to make purchases with just a few clicks on their phone. Apps are typically optimized for fast checkout, meaning that customers don’t have to go through multi-page checkout processes.
Even though 40% of consumers say they have a shopping app on their tablets/mobiles, only 39% of that 40% use the app to make purchases.
This doesn’t mean that apps are ineffective when it comes to increasing sales, rather, many consumers will research products via an app on their phone or tablet and then move to desktop to complete the purchase.
This brings me to the next statistic.
8. 85% of customers start a purchase on one device and finish it on another (Think with Google)
The purchase path for consumers is no longer straightforward. They hop between channels and devices, and their purchase habits are sporadic.
This creates a problem for many e-commerce stores, particularly those who don’t use omnichannel marketing. Potential customers leave items in their cart on mobile, and when they return to their cart on desktop—the items are gone.
Integrating an omnichannel marketing strategy requires accurate real-time information across all channels and devices.
This means you have to update information in real-time, so users can access their cart on any device and immediately check out and continue shopping.
9. 37% shoppers (18-24 age group) do most of their shopping on mobile/tablets (VWO)
Shoppers between the ages of 18-24 are part of the digital natives generation and have grown more accustom to using phones and tablets for online shopping compared to older generations.
This is yet another argument in favor of creating a seamless mobile experience for mobile shoppers.
10. 88% of people agree that having a mobile device with real-time information makes them more spontaneous with shopping and, in general, more open to discovering new things (Latitude)
This trend also suggests that having a mobile optimized site is crucial for e-commerce businesses.
Smartphones with internet access reduce the time from idea to purchase.
Let’s say you’re out and you see someone wearing a green dress. You immediately want a green dress and instead of putting that thought in the back of your head and risk forgetting about it, you pull out your phone and purchase a green dress.
This spontaneity among consumers is growing stronger with the possibility of mobile shopping, and there are big bucks to be made here for e-commerce businesses.
The easier it is for people to buy your products, the more products you’ll sell.
Cart abandonment statistics for e-commerce
11. The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.23% (Baymard Institute)
With shopping cart abandonment rates at such high levels, potential revenue is slipping through the fingers of online stores.
And although we can’t eliminate cart abandonment entirely, we can minimize the likelihood of it happening.
Many marketers wrongly believe abandoning buyers are lost forever…
But that’s simply not the case.
While there are many things you can do to prevent cart abandonment in the first place, the most effective strategy is using cart abandonment emails.
Here’s an example from Casper:
The average revenue for abandoned cart emails is $5.64, compared to only $0.02 for promotional emails and $0.18 per welcome email.
That should be reason enough for you to get started writing abandoned cart emails immediately (and if you need inspiration, you can check out this article on abandoned cart emails).
12. 54% buyers will buy retargeted products if offered at a discount (VWO)
One of the tactics you can use in your abandoned cart emails is discounting the items abandoned visitors have left in their cart.
Not only are abandoned cart emails highly targeted and relevant to your receivers, but when you offer a discount, your email becomes more valuable to the receiver.
The only problem with offering a discount on abandoned cart items is if you do it too often, people will come to expect it, and they’ll purposely leave items in their cart with the expectation they’ll receive a discount code in their inbox.
One way to avoid this problem is to only offer discounts on first purchases, and then use retargeting to convert first-time customers into repeat customers.
13. 28% shoppers abandon carts because of unexpected shipping costs (VWO)
Shipping costs is a never-ending debate in e-commerce.
Do we include shipping costs and increase average value, or do we scrap them altogether and hope customers will buy more often?
The answer isn’t always clear, but the statistics show unexpected shipping costs are the number one reason people abandon their carts:
By declaring the shipping cost upfront and offering a guest checkout option, you can reduce cart abandonment significantly as these make up 51% of the reason people abandon their carts.
E-commerce statistics to help you increase conversions on your website
14. 43% of e-commerce traffic comes from organic Google search (Wolfgang Digital)
With e-commerce competition fiercer than ever, it’s crucial your online store is optimized for SEO.
When I first started working with SEO (especially keyword research), I had no idea what I was doing, and unfortunately, this is quite common among marketers like myself.
But the thing is: without SEO, you’ll never reach the top of Google’s search results.
Besides doing keyword research, you need to work on on-page optimization, which, if done correctly, will make Google love your site and catapult you to the top of the search results.
15. 24% shoppers are ready to spend more to qualify for free shipping (VWO)
We all love free stuff—even if we sometimes have to pay for it.
Sounds confusing, right?
But the statistics speak for themselves. Consumers don’t want to pay for shipping because it’s an expense they don’t get any value from.
Yes, they get their items delivered, but with many online stores offering free shipping, it’s just not enough value.
However, to increase additional sales, you can offer free shipping if customers purchase for a certain amount.
Here’s how Sephora encourages customers to make additional sales:
Customers are more likely to purchase more items than pay for shipping because buying an extra item gives them more tangible value than shipping.
16. 68% of consumers list free returns and exchanges as the number one incentive to buy more online (Walker Sands)
Returning to the much-debated topic of free shipping…Or free returns.
Numbers don’t lie, and free returns attract more customers and encourages more frequent purchases.
One successful e-commerce business who offers free delivery and returns is ASOS:
ASOS has made it easy for customers to return items, and because it’s free people are more likely to complete a purchase they’re not 100% sure about because they know it won’t cost them anything to return it.
So why would you want people to buy your items only to have them returned?
The thing about impulsive purchases is that in the majority of cases, they are not returned.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve purchased a dress from ASOS that I didn’t need because “I could just return it if I changed my mind.” Guess where those dresses are now? (hint: it involves my closet).
Of course, some people will return their items, and offering free returns will entail more work in your returns department but in the long run, it could boost your business significantly.
Make sure to test if the free returns policy works for you. If it has a negative effect on your bottom line, you shouldn’t do it.
17. 93% of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision (Justuno)
Visual appearance in e-commerce relates to your product images, your website design, your advertisements, and basically every visual element on your site.
We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and 90% of the information sent to our brain is visual.
This is why we respond so well to images and videos.
When creating product images and other visual elements for your site, you need to be consistent in your design.
Make your products look as appealing as possible, and preferably showcase them in a natural setting.
Once again, ASOS knows exactly how to do this:
They showcase their clothes on a real person from every angle and use a plain light background to enhance the color of the clothes.
They’ve also included a video where potential customers can see how the clothes look “in action”.
Here’s another example from Crate & Barrel:
Your products look much more appealing when placed in a natural setting along with related items.
Many e-commerce sites don’t have enough images, which can have a negative impact on their bottom line.
In fact, 78% of online shoppers want more images from ecommerce sites.
18. 68% of US online shoppers engage with live chat features (Ladesk)
Including a live chat feature on your website can help prevent abandoning visitors and increase conversions.
How many times have you abandoned a phone call to a customer service department because the phone queue was never ending?
More than once right?
Live chat enables potential customers to get in touch with you immediately if they have any questions, without having to be put on hold on a phone cue.
That way, you decrease the risk of potential customers abandoning your site because they couldn’t find an answer to their question.
Canyon Bicycles offer live chat in multiple different languages depending on which language you have chosen to view the website in:
In this example, I chose to view the Spanish version of the website, and the live chat was offered in Spanish.
If your target group consists of people from different countries with different languages, it’s a good idea to set up your live chat in those languages so potential customers can reach you in their preferred language.
This will not only increase engagement with your live chat but if you include an option to view your website in these languages as well, you’ll undoubtedly increase conversions.
19. 46% of online shoppers want more product comparisons from ecommerce sites (BigCommerce)
Sites like Google Shopping, Hotels.com, and PriceGrabber are gaining popularity among online shoppers because they make it easy for consumers to compare prices on products.
Product comparisons are not just about finding the cheapest product. It’s also about finding the right product.
Let’s imagine you sell computers, and a prospect is looking to purchase a laptop.
How does a person with no knowledge about computers find the right computer to match their needs and budget?
Here’s how Apple lets potential customers compare products:
The comparison includes all the information on the compared products, such as price, size, type of processors, graphics, and all other features, giving potential customers a clear overview of the differences between the various products.
20. 73% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand (Animoto)
In the words of The Buggles: “Video killed the radio star.”
And that’s why you should be using video on your e-commerce site.
Okay, there’s a bit more to it than a 40-year-old song, but the facts speak for themselves.
We love visuals because they’re faster to process than text, and you can see how things work without having to visualize it yourself.
Advance Auto Parts uses how-to videos and installation guides to increase sales:
The use of product videos makes it easy for your potential customers to see how the product works and how it will benefit the user.
21. PayPal transactions have 70% higher checkout conversion than non-PayPal transactions (PayPal)
Including PayPal as a payment option can draw customers who value trust, security, and convenience.
PayPal makes it easier for customers to complete online transactions without having to take out their credit card, or provide other information.
You can even use a “Checkout with PayPal” button at the top of your payment page to let customers skip typing in shipping and billing information (provided they have that information connected to their PayPal account).
22. 42% of online shoppers want more testimonials from ecommerce sites (BigCommerce)
Testimonials from existing customers are priceless.
With the massive amount of information and products available online, consumers have become much more selective in their purchasing behavior, and are spending more time researching different products before making a purchase.
There are many factors that influence this decision-making process, but the use of customer testimonials on e-commerce sites is highly effective.
Testimonials increase the credibility and trustworthiness of your brand and your products if you use them correctly.
There are different types of testimonials you can use, including:
- Quotes testimonials
- Influencer testimonials
- Social media testimonials
- Consumer reviews
- Case studies
- Video testimonials
- Documentary series
At Sleeknote, we use quotes testimonials throughout our website:
We use them on different pages of the website, and also within our content where relevant.
The type of testimonial you should use is individual, and sometimes a mix of more than one type is more effective. It’s all about testing what works best on your site and for your audience.
23. 69% of online shoppers want more reviews from ecommerce sites (BigCommerce)
Just like testimonials, reviews are highly effective when it comes to nudging your potential customers to make a purchase.
You should always encourage your visitors to review their experience with your business.
Zappos encourage customers to leave reviews on specific products:
They include the most positive review, the most critical review, and then list all other reviews beneath sorted by “Most Helpful” or “Newest.”
If your customers have reviewed your business on review sites such as Trustpilot, you need to include some of these reviews on your website.
It’s not just enough to have them on third party sites if you want them to be effective—they have to be where the action happens, which is on your website.
E-commerce statistics to prove personalization matters
24. 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history (Accenture)
Personalizing your marketing efforts, and more specifically your email marketing efforts will undoubtedly increase sales.
Email marketing is the most effective marketing channel, and you can set up various automated email campaigns based on your customer’s name, location, previous actions, purchases, and how they have otherwise engaged with your brand in the past.
Here’s an example from Sam’s inbox from Ugmonk:
Ugmonk addresses the consumer by name, and the email includes a link to Sam’s abandoned cart which contains the items he left behind.
The opportunities for email segmentation are endless; it’s just about segmenting your audience correctly.
25. 63% of consumers said they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant (Rapt Media)
This is similar to the above marketing statistic, and it only emphasizes the importance of email segmentation.
More than 205 billion emails are sent and received every day, so you need to ensure that your emails are being opened and read.
The more relevant your emails are, the higher chances are people will open and read them.
Social e-commerce trends
26. 53% of buyers say Facebook informs their purchase decisions (VWO)
The power of Facebook as a marketing tool is indisputable.
With more than 1.71 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest social media connecting consumers from all over the world.
Consumers are not only influenced by their peers on Facebook, but also by businesses through Facebook ads, Facebook Business Pages, and more.
Whenever a brand posts an update on Facebook, consumers can comment, and these comments, positive or negative, have a large impact on how other consumers perceive that brand.
Thus, it’s important for e-commerce businesses to establish a positive brand image on Facebook (and other social media), to create positive electronic word-of-mouth communication among consumers.
27. 42% of online customers find recommendations from friends and family influential (BigCommerce)
Online shopping has made it easy for consumers show a specific product to their friends or family to get a second opinion before making a purchase. This can be shared through a link on SMS, email, social media, etc.
If friends and family recommend one product over the other, we are more likely to chose the recommended one, regardless of price and quality.
To help encourage visitors to buy, include different image sharing options that will help potential customers get a thumbs up from their friends.
28. 74% shoppers are unlikely to share a product on social network after purchase (VWO)
Even though consumers are unlikely to share purchases on their social media profiles, that doesn’t mean you should not stop encouraging them to do so.
We are highly influenced by recommendations from friends and family, and if you get just a small percentage of your customers to share their purchase on social media, 25% of their network will check out that product.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time and resources on getting people to share their purchases. All it takes is a social share button at the end of your checkout, or in your order confirmation email along with a short call-to-action.
A few funny ones for the road
29. 73% of customers say they love a brand for their friendly employees or customer service representatives (Oracle)
Never underestimate the power of a smile, someone important once said (or maybe it was just me).
And while we might not be able to smile to our online customers, we can make them feel appreciated by being positive and giving them a unique experience when they get in touch with us.
30. One in ten customers admit to buying something online after drinking alcohol (BigCommerce)
It should come as no surprise that we buy more when we’ve been drinking.
People become more spontaneous when under the influence, and that can easily result in impulse buying.
Without further ado:
31. Millennials and Generation Xers are 5x more likely to have made an online purchase from the bathroom than Baby Boomers and Seniors (BigCommerce)
31% of Millennials and Generation Xers vs. only 6% of Baby Boomers and Seniors have made online purchases from the bathroom.
Millennials and Generation Xers have grown up alongside digitalization, and have a higher need for being connected online than older generations.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that these two generations are more likely to do some online shopping while on the can.
Who hasn’t brought their phone with them to the bathroom, and ended up spending 30 minutes in there compared to the 5 minutes it really took to get done with business?
Mobile devices have found their way to the bathroom, and with it, online shopping.
Want Some Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies?
Optimizing your e-commerce is TOUGH. To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive CRO toolkit, including 100+ CRO techniques we’re using to improve Sleeknote’s conversion rate (ranked for your convenience).
Developing an efficient marketing strategy for your e-commerce requires knowledge about e-commerce statistic, trends, and consumer habits.
I hope this article gave you the insight to help you get started on that strategy, and that you found some of the answers you were looking for.
Have you stumbled upon any surprising e-commerce statistics lately? Let us know in the comments below.