Ecommerce KPI Benchmarks (October 2016)

ecommerce benchmarks

I use a lot of ecommerce benchmarks in my work. With new clients, they are great to put together a plan with projections. With existing clients, they are great to see where we need to step up our game.

This article is centralizes all of the different research and reports that I use.

Quick word about the data: I’ve tried to focus on high quality data from studies with a large enough sample sizes. That said, some of these metrics vary between studies. That has to do with geography, technologic maturity, scale, niche and age of the included stores. That said, it’s a good way to know the ballpark of which numbers you you be hitting.

Traffic sources (by visitors)

  • Google organic: 33%
  • Google CPC: 36%
  • Direct traffic: 17%
  • Email: 4%
  • Facebook organic: 3%
  • Facebook CPC: 2%
  • Bing organic: 1%
  • Yahoo organic: 1%
  • Other: 9%

Source: Wolfgang Digital Ecommerce KPI Benchmarks
Notes: Traffic sources in Other include everything that drove less  1% of traffic.

Why should you care?
Compare this with your own analytics to see which traffic sources you should have a look at.

Traffic sources (by revenue)

  • Google organic: 31%
  • Google CPC: 32%
  • Direct traffic: 21%
  • Email: 5%
  • Facebook organic: 2%
  • Facebook CPC: 0%
  • Bing organic: 2%
  • Yahoo organic: 2%
  • Other: 13%

Source: Wolfgang Digital Ecommerce KPI Benchmarks
Notes: These benchmarks use last-click attribution. Meaning that this was the last action a customer took before purchasing. The truth usually is a lot less clear cut.

Why should you care?
You might get the traffic from the same sources, but is this also where your revenue comes from? This can be an indicator that the effectiveness of your investments is off. You could be attracting a lot of organic traffic, but get no sales from it. This means that you’re missing critical links in addressing the buyer process.

Many of our own clients have seen great results from Facebook Ads. Not just to drive traffic but also to generate sales. The authors of this study have said that many of the (bigger) retailers in their study have an ‘adoption lag’. Meaning they are running behind on what’s actually happening.

Sales channels (by revenue)


Source: Channel Pilot presentation
Notes: These benchmarks show the revenue shares for comparison shopping engines, market places and social media. The are based on data from 1200, mostly German shops.

Why should you care?
This chart shows some alternatives to the tried and true channels. It mainly shows steady growth for Amazon and comparison search engines like Google Shopping and a couple of up and coming platforms like Stylight and Stylefruits.

Device type (by visitors)

  • Mobile: 41%
  • Desktop: 41%
  • Tablet: 18%

Source: Wolfgang Digital Ecommerce KPI Benchmarks

Why should you care?
This will depend on your niche and geography. Some countries will skew a lot more towards mobile.

Device type (by revenue)

  • Mobile: 21%
  • Desktop: 62%
  • Tablet: 18%

Source: Wolfgang Digital Ecommerce KPI Benchmarks

Why should you care?
Segment your own revenue by device to see what your breakdown looks like? Do you attract visitors but fail to convert?

On-page engagement metrics

  • Pages/session: 6
  • Session duration: 4m02s
  • Bounce Rate: 40%

Source: Wolfgang Digital Ecommerce KPI Benchmarks

Why should you care?
These numbers will very much depend on your niche. But a general rule is that more engagement with your site is better. If your numbers are totally off, try comparing buyers to non-buyers on your site.

Transaction path length

  • 1 session: 40%
  • 2 sessions: 60%
  • 3 sessions: 70%
  • 5 sessions: 81%
  • 12+ sessions: 100%

Source: Wolfgang Digital Ecommerce KPI Benchmarks

Why should you care?
Many store owners expect to make a sale the first time someone visits their site. These metrics show that you’ll need to think of ways to bring these visitors back to your site.

Ecommerce Average Order Value

Average order value by traffic source

  • Direct: $123.79
  • Email: $111.85
  • Search: $116.53
  • Social: $88.92
  • Unknown: $132.02

Source: Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly (Q2 2016)

Why should you care?
Your average order value depends on the type of products you sell. But solid businesses bring in solid revenue. And building a business on $150 orders is often easier than doing that on $10 orders. If your order value is too, low, you might need new products or cross/upsell more effectively.

Average Order Value by store performance

  • Top 25% stores: $102.93
  • 25-50%: $97.73
  • 50-75%: $88.31
  • Bottom 25%: $74.73

Source: RJMetrics Ecommerce Growth Benchmark

Why should you care?
These numbers illustrate what great stores do compared to the average ones. If all else stays equal, the better performing stores get a 30% higher average order value. This extra revenue allows them to invest more and get even further ahead.

Average Ecommerce Conversion rate

Average Top 10%
Organic 1.18% 3.7%
Direct 1.46% 3.98%
Google PPC 1.55% 3.77%
Facebook PPC 1.56% 2.49%
Email 3.84% 9.89%
Overall 1.33% 3.65%

Source: Compass Ecommerce Conversion Rate Benchmarks

Why should you care?
This table shows a breakdown of the different conversion rates you can expect for each of your marketing channels. If you’re not hitting the average ones, maybe it’s time to review the effectiveness of your efforts.

Also compare the average with the conversion rates that the top 10% of the stores in the study are generating. For most channels, they convert more than DOUBLE the rate of the other stores. This gives them a huge competitive advantage.

Conversion rate per device type

  • Desktop: 3.99%
  • Tablet: 3.46%
  • Smartphone: 1.48%

Source: Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly (Q2 2016)

Why should you care?
Mobile visitors convert at almost half the rate of desktop visitors. That’s a fact and these benchmarks illustrate it. So what do you do about it? Eliminate paying for mobile traffic? Continue to optimize your mobile experience?

Add to Cart rates per device

  • Desktop: 11.98%
  • Tablet: 11.30%
  • Smartphone: 7.47%

Source: Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly (Q2 2016)

Why should you care?
If your visitors don’t buy, have a look at the add-to-cart rates for your store. Are people adding product to their baskets? You might need to configure extra ecommerce analytics to track this metric.

Annual Ecommerce growth

Stores with an annual revenue between $0-$1 million have a annual growth rate of 137%.

Why should you care?
Keeping track of this metric is a pretty advanced thing to do. But if you know how fast the best stores in your industry are growing, it will help you to set realistic growth targets for your own store.

It’s a good indicator of when you will need to move past the low-hanging fruit and start exploring new sources of growth. In the early days of your company, you can double your business simply by building awareness. But after you’ll need to grow more deliberately: improve your website, start advertising or get serious about your email list.

Source: RJMetrics Ecommerce Growth Benchmark

New versus repeat orders

Top 25% companies

  • Month 2: 20% of revenue comes from repeat customers.
  • Month 36 (3 years): revenue from repeat customers starts taking over revenue from new customers.

Bottom 75% companies

  • Month 2: 10% of revenue comes from repeat customers.
  • Month 36: revenue from repeat customers equals revenue from new customers.

Source: RJMetrics Ecommerce Growth Benchmark

Why should you care?
Solid businesses are build on repeat orders. It’s cheaper to get your existing customers to buy again, and if that revenue reaches scale, your store really grows leaps and bounds.

The top companies excel at retaining customers, even at the start of their business.

Ecommerce Customer Acquisition Cost (repeat customers)

Customer acquisition cost for repeat customers is between ⅛ and ⅓ of the original cost.

No source.

Why should you care?
You need to spend the big money to get customers into your world. But getting them to buy again will cost you a lot less. If you think that it’s free remember to factor in the cost of things like sending newsletters,

Google Adwords benchmarks

Adwords Clickthrough Rate by Network

  • Search: 1.66%
  • Display: 0.45%

Source: Google Adwords Industry Benchmarks

Why should you care?
These will give you a very rough ballpark to see if your campaigns are any good.

Average Adwords Clickthrough Rate

  • 25th percentile:  1.91%
  • 50th percentile: 3.23%
  • 75th percentile: 5.58%
  • 90th percentile: +9.5%

Source: Wordstream Adwords Ad data

Why should you care?
Rather than using averages, these numbers show what great advertisers are doing. The best ones (in the 90th percentile) are getting almost 5X the CTR vs the lower performing ones. On Adwords this will translate into a great quality score, and a lower cost per click.

Average Adwords Cost Per Click

  • Search: $0.88
  • Display: $0.29

Source: Google Adwords Industry Benchmarks

Why should you care?
This will depend greatly on your industry. But good to have a number to reference.

Average Adwords Conversion Rates for Ecommerce

  • Search: 1.91%
  • Display: 0.96%

Source: Google Adwords Industry Benchmarks

Why should you care?
Unlike other traffic sources, with Adwords you have a lot of control over who you attract to your site. These conversion rates should give you an idea of the quality of the visitors your bringing to your site.

Average Adwords Cost Per Action for Ecommerce

  • Search: $46.07
  • Display: $30.21

Source: Google Adwords Industry Benchmarks

Why should you care?
Similar to the Adwords conversion rates, these should give you a rough idea if you can make Adwords work for your store. But of course it will depend on your products (and average order value!).

Social PPC Advertising

  • Click through rate: 1.1%
  • Cost per click: $0.3
  • CPM: $3.39

Source: Kenshoo Digital Marketing Snapshot

Why should you care?
These numbers can help you get an idea how effective your ads are. Of course these only show the first step, what comes after, converting these visitors will tell you about their true effectiveness.

Bonus: Rather than pay attention to all of the ecommerce benchmarks above, I’ve put together a guide that will tell you which metrics you should pay attention to at every stage of your store. Click here to download your free guide.

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