Basket / Checkout Abandonment Performance (March 2016)

Press release – March 11, 2016

Comment by David Senior, Sector Director – Retail, OpenMarket for IMRG

This article looks at website performance data – visitor bounce rate, basket abandonment and checkout abandonment – across different devices.

The most recent data from our quarterly benchmark – Q4 2015/16 (Nov 15 to Jan 16) – recorded these rates as follows:

Total e-Retail Smartphone Tablet Desktop / Laptop
Visitor bounce rate 30.3% 34.3% 28.1% 23.7%
Basket abandonment rate 61.1% 62.9% 63.5% 64.2%
Checkout abandonment rate 35.5% 45.6% 31.5% 28.0%


Let’s look at the performance of these three measures in detail.

Visitor bounce rate

The overall market average in 2015 was 30% – which is the highest for a full year we’ve seen since we started tracking it in 2010.

As shown by the below chart, the bounce rates by device are fairly static lines, although the overall average has risen notably from its low of 22% in 2010.

Not surprisingly, the highest average bounce rates are seen on smartphones – which average 34.8% since we began tracking by device type in Q2 2015. The fact that we have seen smartphones take a bigger share of online sales / visits in recent years – in particular in 2015 when it really accelerated – accounts for why the overall bounce rate has increased.

Basket abandonment

Although the basket abandonment rates were broadly similar in Q4 2015/16, it’s interesting (and at first slightly surprising) that it continues to be highest on desktop / laptops.

A potential reason for this is a higher propensity for using ‘wish list’ facilities on desktops / laptops – perhaps further driven by shoppers adding items to their basket during work time (when access to retail sites via these devices reaches a daily peak) as people think of things they want, but only checking out when they get home that night.

Checkout abandonment

In Q4 2015/16 the overall checkout abandonment rate reached its highest rate since Q1 2014/15, rising 5 percentage points over the most recent quarter.

As with the bounce rate, growth in mobile sales is likely to be a key driver of this – during the last quarter we saw mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) take an additional 6% share of online retail sales, from 45% in Q3 to 51% in Q4.

Also interesting to note is that checkout abandonment rates rose on smartphones and tablets between Q3 and Q4 but fell slightly on desktops /laptops.

Although, we have seen a general downward trend in checkout abandonment rates over recent years, they remain stubbornly high in general. Following two consecutive years of decline from 35% in 2010 to 32% in 2012, in 2013 the overall average rate rose to 35%. Since 2014 it has ranged from 26% to 36%, with the overall rate reaching 31% in 2015.

David Senior, sector director – retail, OpenMarket: “While mobile is growing its share of overall online retail volumes, it’s interesting to note that checkout abandonment rates are 10 percentage point higher than average. Mobile is a great tool for retailers looking to increase their reach, but the important part is converting those extra eyeballs into sales. One option for helping to seal those sales may be to use SMS reminders to provide consumers with a non-intrusive, direct channel to the mobile platform – which is increasingly being used for shopping. In fact, our experience shows that SMS reminders can improve abandonment rates – as 21% of abandoners re-engage and buy when re-marketed. In addition, research has shown that abandoners spend 55% more than non-abandoners*.”

* Marketing Sherpa, 2012

Mike Harris, VP EMEA, Monetate: “To convert browsers to buyers, brands need to provide customer journeys that are made more relevant and personalised consistently across device types, so consumers do not get a fragmented experience. Incentives to complete the transaction can be personalised for different visitor types; for example highlighting shipping details or offering introductory shipping offers can help convert first time buyers, while countdown timers for next day delivery for returning visitors can add urgency to completing a transaction. Lastly, do not forget to ensure that checkout is optimised for each device type; in particular ensure that the consumer does not receive distracting offers or messages during the checkout process that take them away from the page, never to return.”

Christopher Longman, lead insight analyst, Salmon: “The idea that customers abandon checkout at the first sign of difficulty simply isn’t true. We’ve observed customers make up to 10 attempts to proceed between desktop checkout pages, although they are less committed on mobile devices. The increase in checkout abandonment observed by IMRG instead reflects that retailers are continuing to present major obstacles in the checkout journey. And whilst abandonment data is useful, it fails to expose underlying causes: is the journey too confusing, or are there technical issues? One tactic for helping understand the causes of abandonment is using session replay tools, which can enable quick fixes and improvements.”