Corporate Eye

2 out of 3 Online Shoppers Abandon Their Shopping Carts without Paying

eccommerce online shopping cartAccording to data compiled by Baymard Institute, the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is 67.89%. That means more than two out of three people leave products in their online shopping carts before they complete their purchases, and that means companies are leaving a lot of money on the table.

Why do consumers leave online shopping carts filled with products? Studies over the past few years have found that unexpected costs, slow shipping, high-priced shipping, and poor return policies are cited most frequently by online shoppers around the world.

For example, a 2012 study by Forrester found that the number one reason consumers abandon online shopping carts (44%) is because shipping and handling costs are too high. Similarly, two separate studies by comScore conducted in 2013 and 2012 revealed the following:

  • Nearly 90% of online shoppers have placed items in their shopping carts and left the site without making a purchase.
  • Two out of five customers abandon their shopping carts because of slow delivery estimates.
  • Nearly half of online shoppers will not wait more than five days for packages to be delivered.
  • Online consumers are less likely to abandon shopping carts if shipping costs and delivery times are communicated early in the online shopping experience.
  • More than three quarters of online shoppers have added items to their shopping carts to qualify for free shipping.
  • More than 60% of online shoppers look at a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase.
  • 65% of consumers will shop more with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free return policy.

Looking at shopping cart abandonment from a different perspective, SeeWhy tracked online buyer behavior to learn how time-to-purchase and value-in-cart affect abandonment rates. SeeWhy found that 72% of ecommerce site visitors will buy within the first 12 hours, but the average time delay between a buyer’s first visit and purchase is 19 hours. The breakdown follows:

  • 30% purchase in less than 20 minutes
  • 50% purchase in 20 minutes to 1 hour
  • 60% purchase in 1 to 3 hours
  • 65% purchase in 3 to 12 hours
  • 72% purchase in 12 to 24 hours
  • 80% purchase in 1 to 3 days
  • 85% purchase in 3 to 7 days
  • 95% purchase in 1 to 2 weeks
  • 100% purchase in more than 2 weeks

SeeWhy also found that people who have made a purchase on a specific site in the past are far less likely to abandon their shopping carts on that site in the future than new customers are. This isn’t surprising but did you know that the tipping point for cart abandonment happens at $100? SeeWhy found the following abandonment rates based on the value of items in the shopping cart:

  • $0 to $100 cart: 78% abandonment
    • $1 to $25 cart: 85% abandonment
    • $26 to $50 cart: 75% abandonment
    • $51 to $75 cart: 63% abandonment
    • $76 to $100 cart: 59% abandonment
  • $101 to $250 cart: 52% abandonment
    • $100 to $150 cart: 78% abandonment
    • $151 to $200 cart: 42% abandonment
  • $250 to $300 cart: 70% abandonment
  • $300 to $350 cart: 70% abandonment
  • $350 to $400 cart: 73% abandonment
  • $400+ cart: 85% abandonment

In recent years, studies have also shown that retargeting through advertising and remarketing through email are both very effective in bringing consumers back to complete transactions they’ve abandoned online. Deliver the user experience (i.e., product images, easy site navigation, no site registration required, easy price comparisons, reviews, and secure transactions) and the buying experience (i.e., clear, affordable, and fast shipping as well as easy return policies) that consumers want, and you should see more ecommerce transactions completed.

Image: Svilen Milev

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.