The short answer is that the global average is between 1-3%.

Of course, the reality is full of nuance and variables, from sector to region to season to marketing channel mix to website traffic volume to website UX. But this range (1-3%) is broadly what’s seen in Econsultancy’s Performance Benchmarks tool. This tool uses data from a variety of partners, in this instance the ecommerce conversion rate data is provided by Littledata, an ecommerce analytics specialist.

Before we look at the stats in more detail, it might be helpful to first define ecommerce conversion rate.

What is ecommerce conversion rate?

Ecommerce conversion rate for a particular timeframe can be measured as the percentage of a website’s unique users during that time who make a purchase. However, conversion rate can also be calculated as number of sales as a percentage of number of sessions (with any unique user possibly triggering numerous sessions) – indeed, this is the default method in Google Analytics and is the standard measure of conversion rate.

What is the average conversion rate for my sector?

You can see some of the variation in ecommerce conversion rate in the table below taken from Econsultancy’s Performance Benchmark tool. While travel and tourist ecommerce websites see relatively low conversion rates, averaging 0.7% (presumably on account of all those browsers fastidiously planning their holidays across multiple websites), shoppers looking for food and drink or finance are much more likely to convert (>2.4%).

There are any number of explanations for a higher conversion rate in these two sectors. People looking for food and drink may do so regularly and out of habit, without much browsing, perhaps on a supermarket website or takeaway service. Finance customers may arrive on an insurance site from a price comparison site and are (more) ready to convert, or they may take a loan from a trusted brand (the bank that already provides their current account, for example).

Table showing data from Econsultancy’s Performance Benchmarks tool (source data: Littledata.io)
Sector No. Website Users Conversion rate (sessions), Jul-18
All sectors (Global) <2k+ 0.90%
All sectors (Global) <500k 1.40%
All sectors (Global) >500k+ 1.30%
Society (Global) All websites 0.20%
Home Furnishings (Global) All websites 0.40%
Home and Garden (Global) All websites 0.60%
Business and Industrial (Global) All websites 0.70%
Travel (Global) All websites 0.70%
Tourist Destinations (Global) All websites 0.70%
Visual Art and Design (Global) All websites 0.70%
Education (Global) All websites 0.80%
Art and Entertainment (Global) All websites 1.10%
Technology and Computing (Global) All websites 1.10%
Real Estate (Global) All websites 1.20%
Apartments (Global) All websites 1.20%
Hobbies and Interests (Global) All websites 1.30%
Shopping (Global) All websites 1.30%
Style and Fashion (Global) All websites 1.40%
Clothing (Global) All websites 1.40%
Automotive and Vehicles (Global) All websites 1.50%
Health and Fitness (Global) All websites 1.50%
Retail (Global) All websites 1.50%
Consumer Electronics (Global) All websites 1.80%
Food (Global) All websites 2.10%
Food and Drink (Global) All websites 2.40%
Finance (Global) All websites 2.50%
Personal Finance (Global) All websites 2.90%

More conversion rate stats to consider

There are plenty of other figures out there, of course. Some sources give global averages of 3% or more but 2% or less seems to be more often cited. Here are some more stats which show how ecommerce conversion rate can vary:

  • Mobile conversion rate may be half that of desktop. Monetate’s ecommerce quarterly gives a figure of 3.85% for desktop and 2.03% for mobile.
  • Conversion rates during shopping events such as Black Friday are much higher. Adobe data from 2016 showed desktop conversion at 5.5% on Black Friday, but only 3.2% across the holiday.
  • Average conversion rate from PPC traffic is 3.48% in Google’s latest benchmark data. Some industries see an average of >6% in this channel.

The problems with ecommerce conversion rate

There are obvious problems with putting too much stock in your latest measure of ecommerce conversion rate. As with any metric, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Your conversion rate may increase, but if your traffic is decreasing quicker still, that’s not good for total sales. By this same logic, you may increase the traffic to your website and increase sales, but if you also increase the number of sessions per user (perhaps by adding longer tail content, buyers guides for example) then your conversion rate may not reflect your newfound success.

Econsultancy’s Performance Benchmarks tool