TL;DR Stick around to see what the 9 latest e-commerce statistics (actually) are, and what they mean for your business.
Trying to keep an eye on e-commerce statistics?
Rightly so. Having relevant data insights on how online retailers, consumers, and carriers “operate” these days can help you set benchmarks for your e-commerce business. And that’s just one benefit to mention.
There’s an issue, though.
Seemingly, there are plenty of good resources on the latest insights, research, and trends you can find online. In fact, here’s what happens when you google “e-commerce statistics”:
The search shows you about 321,000,000 results. Sure, at least a few of these resources can provide you with e-commerce stats that can be somewhat relevant to your business.
Watch out. When you pay close attention, there are actually a lot of numbers being thrown around that we all still seem to be referencing and relying on. I did some digging, however, and discovered that some of these states are…5 years old, for example.
Given how much has changed over the last couple of years, you shouldn’t get tricked into believing that such e-commerce statistics bring a lot of value to the industry nowadays.
It turns out that “more data” doesn’t always mean better data. That being said, here are the 9 latest e-commerce statistics, and what you can do about them.
Global e-commerce statistics for 2023
- Total retail sales are still expected to grow around the world
- “Delivery expectations” are the most common fulfillment challenge
- The average e-commerce conversion rate is 46.1%
- The average cart abandonment rate is 69.99%
- High extra costs are the top reason online shoppers abandon carts
- Speed and convenience of delivery are almost as important as its cost
- 84% of online shoppers are concerned about packages not arriving on time
- 44% of customers trust the retailer more if they have auto-complete address entry
- More than half of the consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable fashion items
E-commerce statistic no.1: Total retail sales are still expected to grow around the world
…But, not as fast as you might want them to.
According to eMarketer, retail sales are expected to grow 4.7% this year, which is not much slower than it has been throughout the 2010s.
The current downturn will mostly manifest in the e-commerce realm, though.
What does it mean for online retailers?
Naturally, a “slower growth environment” already has (and will continue to have) an impact on online sellers. Decreasing e-commerce sales, rising interest rates, inflation at an all-time high, overstocking, high shipping rates…
It is inevitable that carrier companies will have to increase their prices even more in the near future. Especially since many of the rising stars in the industry are venture capital-financed.
It doesn’t mean that you have to just sit and wait. Even in such difficult times, there are at least a few things that you can do to increase (shipping) revenue. According to Anders Ekman, Ingrid’s Co-Founder & COO, you could:
- Aim for a data-driven delivery pricing strategy. Start with adjusting your free shipping threshold depending on the shopping cart value, combined with a fixed delivery rate across all products (if they are fairly similar in dimensions), or groups of products.
- For better results, turn to A/B testing your delivery options and their prices.
- Improve your net delivery cost by negotiating with carrier companies, especially if you can still bring high order volumes to the table. Use them as your leverage!
- Take a closer look at your Transportation Management System. What value does it add? What are you being charged for, exactly? The lower value should mean lower costs — if that’s not exactly the case, ask your TMS system provider for a business case that justifies what you pay for it.
If you’re curious, here’s more on how to profit from deliveries without upsetting your customers in the process. And while we’re on the subject of deliveries:
E-commerce statistic no.2: “Delivery expectations” are the most common fulfillment challenge
Earlier this year, Saddle Creek Logistics conducted an online survey to follow up on an earlier study completed in early 2020. Even though the research revolves around US-based e-commerce industry professionals, taking a look at the two shows the changes within the online retail landscape since the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.
As already mentioned, rising shipping costs and capacity issues make shipping particularly difficult these days. Not surprisingly, delivery expectations (45%) and transportation capacity (36%) emerge as the most common fulfillment challenges.
What’s also interesting is how many online retailers are using more traditional tactics like negotiating rates (36%) or switching carriers (31%). At the same time, a lot of merchants seem to be turning to technology to ease the fulfillment challenges.
Approximately half (48%) are adding or upgrading their parcel/LTL transportation management system (TMS) while 36% are automating parcel sortation, and/or utilizing software for rate shopping (32%) and parcel analytics (29%).
Now, how about throwing some online shopping cart stats into the mix?
E-commerce statistic no.3: The average e-commerce conversion rate is 46.1%
In September 2022, Littledata surveyed over two thousand e-commerce websites with 20k to 500k monthly visitors. They found out that the average checkout conversion rate for e-commerce is 46.1%.
What is the checkout conversion rate, you might ask?
To put it simply, the checkout conversion rate describes the ratio of consumers who begin the checkout process and complete it with a successful purchase. Depending on your needs, it can be measured and compared over a certain period of time.
What's in it for online retailers?
The thing is: It's inevitable that you'll "lose" some customers. Sometimes, they’re just not that into you — they might be casually window-shopping online, or creating a wish list for later. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
According to Littledata, however, if your checkout conversion rate remains as low as 29%, your e-commerce site could most likely use some improvement.
At Ingrid, we believe (and specialize) in creating multiple, well-optimized checkout touchpoints that improve conversion along the way. If you’re interested, here’s how to increase your checkout conversion rate.
E-commerce statistic no.4: The average cart abandonment rate is 69.99%
On the contrary, the average cart abandonment rate (meaning: the ratio of online shoppers who drop out of the checkout process without completing the purchase) currently stands at 69.99%.
If you’re looking for proof, there’s no better place to look for it than on this page of the Baymard Institute (and in this blog post, of course):
As already mentioned, cart abandonment is inevitable. What can be really challenging for many e-commerce, though, is having a strategy in place to reduce cart abandonment rates when possible.
To formulate yours, read more about e-commerce cart abandonment tips and make sure you understand what “motivates” shoppers to abandon carts. Such as…
E-commerce statistic no.5: High extra costs are the top reason behind cart abandonment
According to the Baymard Institute’s cart abandonment research, high extra costs are the main reason shoppers abandon carts — delivery costs included.
You might think that this issue is pretty easy to fix with free shipping, but it’s not necessarily the case. When talking to Ingrid's clients, offering free shipping on all orders is rarely the best tactic if you care about the delivery experience and increasing shipping revenue at the same time.
Instead, Stephen Light, CEO & Co-Owner of Nolah Mattress, recommends:
— Unexpected delivery costs are one of the biggest culprits for cart abandonment across the board for e-commerce sites, so it’s crucial to be as transparent as possible from the get-go. Companies can reduce cart abandonment rates by making delivery costs explicitly clear so that they’re not a surprise once buyers go to checkout.
And I totally agree. Here’s how it can work in practice:
One thing is certain: Your e-commerce delivery strategy should be far more nuanced than just deciding to offer free shipping on all orders. Then, whatever you settle for, make sure your customers are aware of that.
Speaking of shipping:
E-commerce statistic no.6: Speed and convenience of delivery are almost as important as its cost
This year’s E-Commerce Delivery Benchmark Report by Metapack proved what we’ve known all along: online shoppers don’t only value low-cost delivery options.
They also care about when their orders can be delivered, and how convenient is the overall delivery experience.
Why should online retailers care?
Typically, the delivery offer belongs to the checkout process, something consumers reach at the end of the online shopping journey. According to Piotr Zaleski, CEO & Co-Founder of Ingrid, however:
— Many consumers shop based on the delivery experience and they want to know which products and which merchants offer the most convenient, cheapest, and fastest delivery option, all before reaching the last step.
What today’s consumers really want are effortless, dynamic solutions at every stage of the delivery process. It's the easy checkout flow, intelligent last-mile flexibility, and accurate delivery promise that make it a success.
What does it mean for online retailers like yourself? You need to be focusing on 'when', not 'how soon', as well as helping your customers feel in control of the process by letting them choose a preferred method of last-mile delivery services. For example:
E-commerce statistic no.7: 84% of shoppers are concerned about packages not arriving on time
Better late than never? Not in the e-commerce realm. Especially not during the holiday season.
A recent study by Loqate shows that nothing turns loyal customers into strangers faster than failing to deliver on time. Even though they are aware of the supply chain issues nowadays, it doesn’t mean that they’re willing to turn a blind eye to the delivery experience.
84% of global shoppers are concerned about packages not arriving on time, and the older customers get, the less likely they are to give second chances.
Why does it matter for online retailers?
Holiday season or not, it really comes down to managing expectations and paying attention to the delivery promise.
Due to high order volumes, a shortage of drivers, and a spike in fuel prices, deliveries might take longer than usual. It shouldn't be a problem as long as you communicate that with potential customers.
"Don't promise something that the carrier can't deliver and won't honor. Your customer service team doesn't like the You ruined the holidays calls."
Jeff Vogl, Owner of Classic Car Stereos
Talk to your carrier partners or 3PL about the expected order volume in advance so you can estimate realistic delivery times and avoid problems. Once you have carriers’ cut-off dates, give yourself a couple of days extra. Voila, here’s a realistic delivery promise! Now, go ahead and inform everyone about it — internally, and externally.
Once again: You need to be focusing on 'when', not necessarily 'how soon'.
E-commerce statistic no.8: 44% of customers trust the retailer more if they have auto-complete address entry
The study from Loqate shows (at least) one more interesting finding:
44% of global shoppers trust the retailer more if they have the option to autocomplete address entries.
What’s more, 24% of shoppers would make more online purchases in the future, and 14% would choose that brand over one without autocomplete.
Address autocompletion tools for the win?
Given that most missed delivery attempts are caused by address mistakes, giving your customers the ability to autofill, autocomplete, and verify their address details has multiple benefits for everyone involved in the online shopping process.
Take Ingrid Delivery Address Form, as an example. It makes collecting and handling customers’ delivery addresses easier — without any manual work, duplicates of the same data, or errors when entering address details. Everything is verified and saved, which ultimately speeds up the checkout.
E-commerce statistic no.9: 58% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable fashion items
Enter my favorite topic, sustainable e-commerce.
Let’s face it: E-commerce businesses have a pretty bad reputation for causing quick purchases, excessive packaging, and greenhouse gas emissions — all of which have a negative impact on our environment.
The times are slowly changing, though. Both consumers and retailers are bound to take sustainability seriously, and some of them already do.
In fact, GWI’s flagship report on the latest trends in commerce indicates that, globally, the majority of consumers look for brands that care about the environment. Most consumers look for eco-friendly versions of products when they shop online, and 58% are willing to pay more for sustainable fashion items.
What about the delivery of those items, though?
In Sweden, for example, research from Trafik Analys showed that many consumers still seem unwilling to pay extra for climate-neutral deliveries and prioritize price and convenience more than environmental sustainability. This might be due to the fact that there are many different options to choose from, which are not always well-explained and visible.
E-retailers have not yet stressed enough the importance of sustainable delivery options. Despite offering climate-neutral deliveries, many online merchants don't provide much information about them, apart from adding a simple label, or badge.
— Home delivery in cities could be the most eco-friendly since you can provide them by bicycle or electric vehicles. At the same time, it could be the worst option in the countryside if you are delivering one package over a long distance. On the other hand, pick-up-at-store could be efficient, if the store is close to the customer’s workplace but inefficient if the customer needs to take his or her car just to pick up the order.
Even though carbon-neutral shipping might not be a priority of all your consumers (yet), there are clear signs that they’re increasingly demanding more eco-friendly products and delivery options. If you’re not convinced, just take a look at this year’s Sustainable Brand Index or Shopify's Future of Commerce reports.
"Companies should drive the change instead of waiting for their customers to start demanding it. That’s such a heavy burden to place on consumers, which is why e-commerce businesses and solutions like Ingrid should lead the way."
Anders Ekman, Co-Founder & COO at Ingrid
Younger generations, who are concerned about the environment and demand action from governments and businesses, are currently driving the change.
Still, the rise of climate concerns will ultimately result in legislation supporting climate-conscious businesses. If that happens, online retailers who are already working or reducing their environmental impact won't have such a hard time adjusting.
To put it simply, investing in sustainable e-commerce now means planning for the near future.
Don’t let the e-commerce statistics fool you
When looking for relevant e-commerce statistics, always check who and when released them. Then, treat the numbers as useful benchmarks and trends that can guide your business decisions, but don’t rely on them completely.
Every e-commerce business is unique, and you might see different tendencies and tactics that work for you better. For this reason, aim to collect and analyze your own data first before making any assumptions.
Still want more numbers? Follow Ingrid to stay on top of e-commerce statistics and delivery trends. We’re committed to creating delivery experiences that fit people's lives — and we've been doing a pretty good job with it, given that Ingrid products have been already used by 4.4M unique consumers in the last 12 months.
Book a demo to find out more.