eCommerce Conversion Rates in 2019 & Beyond

eCommerce Conversion Rates in 2019 & Beyond


Conversion rates are often used as a measure to see how well or how effective an eCommerce business is doing. In eCommerce, conversion is the process of converting website visitors to paying customers.

For example, you may have a lot of traffic to your website, but your conversion rate is low. In order to increase conversion, it’s essential to understand what it is, and how the market is trending.

In this article, I’m taking an in-depth look at eCommerce conversion rates in 2019. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the industry to provide you with plenty of resources and useful information.

How is eCommerce Conversion Calculated?

The most used calculation for measuring conversion rate is as follows:

Conversion rate = Sessions with Transactions / Total sessions

When we talk about sessions, this refers to an individual visit during a specified time period. For example, one user spending 30 minutes on a website. During the visit, the user may leave and come back to the website several times during their ‘session’. If they come back after the session period has ended, this will count as another session.

SmartInsights have kindly put together this visually helpful graph to understand the above a little better.


What is a Good Conversion Rate?

The absolute reality of a good conversion rate is hard to define. It varies from country to country, by region, users, etc. And of course, all of this is based on a wide range of statistics from different sources. Econsultancy’s Performance Benchmarks tool gives a range of 1-3% as an average ‘good’ conversion rate. The data is pulled from Littledata who specialise in eCommerce analytics.

It’s important to put together your own KPIs by taking the average eCommerce conversion rate within your industry. However, be mindful of competitors, as their conversion rates may not represent a reasonable sample. I say this because companies like Amazon have a 13% conversion rate – this is 7x the industry standard.

The sources I’ve used here are a good indication to giving you a general idea of what to look for. They provide medians and averages in order not to be bias one way or another. The data is taken from a variety of studies and research reports, so should be pretty versatile. Not only will this help you to understand conversion rates by device, within your industry, by product type etc., it will also indicate areas to improve in. Before reading this you may have thought the majority of transactions were completed via a mobile device… well, you should read on for more information!

eCommerce Conversion: Device & Source

Over 5 billion people globally use a mobile phone. Around 2.71 billion of these are smartphone users. Wolfgang Digital’s E-commerce Report 2019 gives us a good insight as to what devices people are using to browse and buy.

Wolfgang eCommerce Report – Browse and Buy by Device 2019

As you can see, 53% of traffic comes from mobile devices. However, only 32% of revenue is from mobile. 56% of revenue is taken from desktop users. Although the purchasing stats are more in favour of desktop users, it’s important for businesses to understand the mobile benchmarks.

Many improvements have been made over the years to mobile experience, however, this doesn’t seem to have impacted the statistics. Mobile phones continue to be a popular device to browse products and services, but not to purchase them. This is key information to understand in order to increase conversion rates in 2019. Optimising your mobile website for browsing, but ensuring your site is well optimised for desktop on transactions. This can often involve website design changes such as interface and navigation changes. 

The Monetate eCommerce Quarterly statistics also correlate with the above. The latest data available was from Q3 2018.

Monetate eCommerce Quarterly – Device Statistics

Google is still the most popular search engine in the world. Around 60% of all website traffic is generated through Google’s search engine. 56% accounts for website revenue, whereas social media only accounts for 2%.

Traffic by Source

  Organic Paid Search Direct Email Social Display Referral Other
Retail 42% 18% 20% 4% 6% 1% 6% 3%
Multi – Channel 46% 15% 21% 5% 4% 1% 5% 3%
Online Only 35% 23% 18% 2% 10% 1% 7% 4%
Travel 44% 18% 21% 4% 2% 2% 8% 1%
Overall 43% 18% 20% 4% 5% 1% 7% 3%

When we look at online only, we can see that 35% of traffic is generated organically. That’s actually quite a large portion in comparison to what I expected. But it shows just how important SEO is and how it can effect visitors to your website. 23% of online traffic is sourced through paid search. Using the likes of Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other similar methods, paid search methods work well alongside a strongly optimised website.

eCommerce Conversion: Website Engagement

I’m sure you’ve heard that the recommended page load time is around 2-3 seconds. If it’s not me banging on about it, Google certainly are. However, statistics show that the average page load time is 6.8 seconds! The shocking news is that those results are up; in 2018 this was 6.1 seconds.

Website Engagement Metrics – Overall

The average website user views 5 pages per session, lasting on average 3 minutes and 1 second. 41.26% of traffic is bounced and the average page load time is 6.8 seconds.

There are many reasons that websites load slowly, but there’s no excuse not to fix these issues. Here’s a brief oversight of what issues could cause your website to load slowly and how to fix them:

  • Unoptimised Images: Images that are too large in file size will slow your website down. Optimising your images will very slightly reduce the quality of them (not noticeable to the naked eye) but will drastically reduce their size. High resolution images will consume your server’s bandwidth, causing your website to load slowly. Using an image optimiser like Tiny Jpg takes little effort but can have a big impact on your website.
  • JavaScript: It’s now super easy to add dynamic content to your website. There’s loads of plugins available, but unfortunately if you don’t use the correct ones, or implement JS effectively, your website will suffer. JavaScript has to be loaded when your website is visited; the code has to be initiated then executed, so multiple uses of this will slow your site down. Using a tool like Segment means you can use a single script for everything on your site.
  • Web Hosting: Using a decent web hosting provider is essential when creating a website. Not all of your website loading issues are going to be your fault, and web hosting is a big one! When choosing a web host you need to ensure that they offer high performance servers and tools to optimse your website. Slow response times and poor uptime can have grave effects on your site’s speed. Take a look at our top 10 website hosts to find out more.

eCommerce Benchmarks and Market Data U.K.

Rather than taking an overall conversion rate, it’s much more profitable to understand market-specific conversion rates. This is a valuable source of data which can help you understand the general performance within your market industry.

IRP Commerce offers up relevant and recent data for a number of markets. To show you the difference between ‘general’ market conversion and specific market conversion, I’ve firstly input the market as “all eCommerce markets”.

We can see here that the difference in conversion rate is 0.26% between June 2018 and June 2019. This is a growth of 16.40%, where the average sale price of items has dropped by 2.25%.

The majority of traffic across all markets in June 2019 is coming from Google PPC with a growth of 21.86%. Facebook paid advertising has dropped by 9.09%, taking third place.

However, if we break down the statistics and data into more market-specific data, we see a different side to the story. This is why it’s so important not to look at the market as a whole in some cases, as what you see may not apply to your industry, product, etc.

In the food and drink market, the conversion rate in June 2019 was 1.10% The average order value has increased by £9.23 and the average sale price of item rose to £5.27. If your business is in the food and drink industry, this now makes the overall market data pretty irrelevant! 

European Conversion Rates

Wolfgagng Digital’s report is an analysis of >250 million website sessions. It looks at the last 12 months, with over €500 million in online revenue. The research below shows the variation in conversion rates by country.

Online conversion rates tend to trend in markets where people are less likely to purchase products in-store. However, this is dependent on many factors including the country they’re located in, brand trust, etc. A brand that is well known in the U.K. may not be as well known in the U.S., reducing conversion.

Conversion rates in Europe represent an average of 1.51%. This is higher than the U.S. (1.37%), but lower than the U.K. with 1.78%. These statistics often only consider online conversions where a sale is made online. Retailer’s like Argos in the U.K. who provide a click and collect service may show different results. Digital accounts in these markets often account for a large proportion of sales, but aren’t considered online where click and collect is in place.

Conversion Rate by Sector

One of the lowest conversion rates in the table below can be seen in the Travel industry with 0.7%. This isn’t to say that all travel eCommerce sites are low converters as there are many factors to consider. For example, when you’re browsing for a holiday, how many sites do you look at? Generally speaking, most people will browse more than one travel website before committing to purchasing a holiday on one of them. Therefore they might gain a lot of traffic, but their conversion rates are low.

On the other hand, the food and drink industry see higher conversions of around 2.4%. People who purchase food online mostly do so through supermarket websites. Of those browsing these website, there is a higher conversion rate because people tend to know what they want. Online food shopping allows customers to save a favourites list which can often be the same week on week. Again, those who buy takeaways online usually use the same website or purchase the same items because they trust the brands and know what they’re going to get.

Google Ads Mobile Conversion by Sector

By this point I’m sure you’re well aware that we’re living in a mobile-first world. 52.2% of website traffic is coming from mobile devices in 2019. Google are forever on top of how mobile sites are performing, and the requirements to do well in the online industry. In July alone they’ve already announced (or rolled out):

It’s undoubtedly important to understand mobile conversion rates. However, with more and more updates, it’s admittedly confusing. Thankfully WordStream have used their vast pool of client accounts to pull together the benchmarks for Google Ads on mobile. The metrics have been ran against 18 different industries and should provide some insight into the ever evolving world of mobile advertisement.

Click-through rate aligns most closely with attractive/provocative creative. Travel, Entertainment, Dating—these are all niches that afford advertisers the opportunity to leverage enticing copy.

The highest click-through rate with 5.36% through search was Travel and Hospitality. Second to this was Arts and Entertainment at 5.01% and Hair Salons with 5%. As quoted above, the industries that seem to do well with click-through search rates are those that are attractive/creative. These industries will use their advertising wisely by marketing in a creative manner, therefore ‘luring’ in those who approve of what they see.

Of those mentioned above, Hair Salons see a 5.95% conversion rate through search, Travel and Hospitality is 2.4%, and Arts and Entertainment is 3.54%. As I’ve already covered earlier on, travel and hospitality conversion rates are low. Unfortunately high CTRs don’t always equate to high conversions. WordStream have suggested that advertisers in this industry should focus more on bidding on keywords with high-intent search signals.

Conversion Rate by Product

Compass take a look at conversion rate by product. Their analysis compiles the performance of over 10,000 online stores in 2017 that use the Compass eCommerce analytics app. This data was used to create the 2018 Ecommerce Conversion Rate Benchmark. As well as industry, source, and device, products and product types are key to conversion rates.

According to Compass, referral is the best performing acquisition channel with a median conversion rate of 5.44%. Referral traffic comes from external websites that link to your own website. These are often valuable sources as they come from recommendations, blog posts, or other websites who deem your product worthy enough to mention.

In terms of product type, food and drink have the highest conversion rate of 3.58% overall. As we established earlier, people will often buy and continue buying from the same online supermarket. At the end of the day, we all need food and drink, and if we can’t get to the shops, we’ll order online. Supermarkets who offer a good enough service will likely gain loyal customers who can easily reorder their ‘usual’ shop for added convenience.

Furniture has the lowest conversion rate of 0.68%. Although furniture is a popular industry, and again somewhat of a necessity, most customers will look at products online, but won’t buy unless they’re in a store. Unfortunately an image of furniture, no matter how detailed, isn’t going to change the market trend in this industry.

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