Cart Abandonment Statistics to Help You Recover Your Customers

Updated · May 20, 2023

More than two billion people—or about a quarter of the world’s population—buy goods online. This figure has doubled over the last decade and will probably continue rising throughout the 2020s.

The truth is that many of these online shoppers add far more items to their shopping carts than they end up buying.

Today, we’ll look at a range of cart abandonment statistics to see how many trillions of dollars in potential revenue merchants lose due to customers’ indecisiveness and if there’s anything they can do to recover it (spoiler: there is).

Key Facts абоут Cart Abandonment Rates (Editor’s Choice)

  • 58.6% of online shoppers abandon carts because they were “just browsing”.
  • Nearly a quarter of customers do so if they have to create an account at checkout.
  • An additional 48% will also give up on a purchase if there are extra costs.
  • For 46% of people in the US, a discount code is the deciding factor—if it doesn’t work, it will result in a dropped shopping cart.
  • Another 37% of North Americans will abandon a cart if shipping times are too long.
  • 45% of shoppers demand to know precise delivery dates.
  • Three out of four shoppers expect free delivery.
  • 81% of customers abandon their travel bookings.
  • Only 2% of the cruise-related shopping carts actually end up as a sale.

The Effects of Shopping Cart Abandonment

Alright, so some customers don’t finalize their purchases and abandon their carts.

So what? 

Is it truly such a significant number of people that does it?

Does it affect businesses much? 

The answer to both of these questions is a resounding “yes.”

A high abandonment rate can signal that something is amiss with your site, potentially costing you millions in lost ecommerce revenue.

1. Abandoned carts cost online retailers up to $4 trillion annually.

(Source: Yieldify)

What if no customer abandoned a single shopping cart over the next year?

That would mean retailers would earn $4 trillion more than they typically do.

Yeah, it’s not going to happen. Even if merchants implemented every strategy they could come up with and achieved a reasonable abandoned cart recovery rate, it’s simply impossible to bring it up to 100%.

That said, it is possible to recover some of the lost sales, and if you’re savvy enough, you could even recover up to 63% of abandoned carts.

2. Just 3.3% of browser sessions lead to a transaction.

(Source: Sale Cycle)

Alongside cart abandonment, there’s something called browser abandonment, too—it’s when people exit a retail site after viewing a product page without adding anything to their cart.

Let’s break it down further.

Each time someone visits a site, they initiate a session. Only 43.8% of sessions have visitors looking at product pages, but not all of them add items to their shopping cart—that’s just 14.5% of users.

And, still, that doesn’t mean you have a sale yet. In fact, abandoned shopping carts are more common than non-abandoned ones. The bottom line is that a mere 3.3% of all sessions result in a transaction.

3. 69% of consumers will not return to a website to purchase an item once they’ve abandoned their cart.

(Source: Statista)

What do customers do after abandoning a shopping cart online?

We don’t know, but we know what they don’t do: come back to your website for those items they didn’t get.

Worse yet, there’s a 26% chance that a potential buyer who has not completed checkout  goes on to a different site and gets that same item from your competitor instead of you.

In short, you want to entice users into finalizing their purchase on the spot; otherwise…let’s just say the odds are not in your favor.

4. Mobile users are 15% more likely to abandon a purchase than desktop users.

(Source: Dynamic Yield)

There are many factors that influence abandonment rates in online shopping, including the platform a user’s on.

We’ve told you before that mobile has overtaken desktop as the dominant platform in terms of traffic—but that doesn’t necessarily mean its users are more likely to spend money on ecommerce.

On the contrary, it appears that while a desktop user will abandon their shopping cart roughly 61% of the time, a mobile user will do so 76% of the time. Curiously, those on tablets behave much like desktop users—abandoning 63% of carts.

Reasons for Cart Abandonment

Shoppers abandoning their carts in online stores is almost as annoying as people leaving their physical shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot.

At least for retailers, it is—especially when they don’t know what it was that made the customer unhappy.

Below, we’ll list a number of factors that can push a user away from your website before they’ve made a purchase. See if any may apply to your case.

5. 58.6% of the people who abandon carts didn’t intend to buy anything in the first place.

(Source: Baymard)

An abandoned shopping cart can be a symptom of deeper issues with a retail website—or it can simply mean that a user was “just browsing.”

We know it sounds weird at first—you probably wouldn’t get a cart just to do some “window shopping” in a physical store—but we aren’t talking about physical stores today.

Online, 58.6% of shoppers who abandon their carts say they do so because they never intended to buy anything in the first place. People nowadays often use online carts as a temporary wishlist of sorts.

(Source: Statista)

The average cart abandonment rates in different lines of business can vary massively. The cruise and ferry industry is most definitely one of the hardest-hit—98% of customers end up not completing their purchase.

According to cart abandonment statistics, other fields that rise up above the average are mobile providers (90.7%), airlines (90%), as well as luxury and fashion (88%).

A likely explanation is that many people are simply browsing when looking at luxury goods (and experiences) without any real intent to buy, as they would do in real life when window shopping in front of a Louis Vuitton store.

For comparison, only 50% of grocery shopping carts are abandoned.

7. 81% of customers abandon their travel bookings.

(Source: Sale Cycle)

With a cart abandonment rate of 81%, the travel industry loses a lot of potential customers. But is it really the industry’s own fault?

Not entirely. It turns out that 39% of customers are simply looking or “doing research” whereas another 37% are comparing prices—a perfectly reasonable thing to do when booking flights or hotels.

Moreover, 21% abandon their carts because they need to check with their co-travelers before making any final decisions.

All of these factors are admittedly out of your control, but there are things that you can work on to improve your chances of making a sale.

Cart abandonment statistics reveal that 13% of would-be travelers find checkout to be too complicated. Other 9% experience technical issues, and 7% would like to have more payment options. Hence why, the best shopping cart solutions offer one-page checkout and integrations with plenty of payment processors.

8. 46% of Americans will abandon an online purchase if a discount code doesn’t work.

(Source: Statista)

Here’s a curious reason you might be losing customers without even realizing it: outdated discount codes.

A shopping cart study found that nearly half of people in the US (46%) will abandon an online purchase if a discount code doesn’t work. It makes sense that people won’t be happy if they thought they were getting 30% off but then got an error message at checkout and suddenly had to pay a lot more.

In other words, ensure that all the codes you offer work properly. And, when they expire, try your best to remove any references to them so as not to mislead customers.

9. 48% of online shoppers give up on a purchase if there are extra costs.

(Source: Baymard)

One of the most significant fixable reasons for shopping cart abandonment has to do with hidden costs.

You know what we’re talking about. It’s when you’ve picked a great item at a good price, then you hit checkout, and suddenly it turns out that there’s a $5.99 shipping fee, a 20% tax on who-knows-what, and some more processing fees because of your chosen payment method.

10. 37% of North Americans will abandon a cart if shipping times are too long.

(Source: Shopify)

Another reason for online shopping cart abandonment related to shipping has to do with how long it takes for an item to reach the buyer.

A study from 2021 found that over a third of North Americans (37%) will abandon their cart if shipping times are “too long.” For comparison, only 32% of Europeans and 28% of Asians are equally as impatient.

Problems also arise when merchants either fail to specify a delivery date—this can prompt 22% of would-be buyers to decide against a purchase—or fail to meet it. About 69% of customers would avoid a retailer if their goods were delayed the last time they shopped there.

How to Reduce Cart Abandonment

You now know that cart abandonment is an unfortunate reality. You also know it can affect your business negatively.

It’s time to talk about what you can do to fight back against the hordes of customers who let you down right before the most critical part of the shopping experience.

11. There are three stages to cart abandonment.

(Source: Dynamic Yield)

There’s no single clear-cut way to reduce abandoned carts, but we can give you some tips on how to improve things.

First, let’s categorize ecommerce cart abandonment in three stages:

  1. Pre-abandonment – It’s hard to predict, but it’s most common when a website’s UI/UX is off or when the site gives off a scammy vibe, so make sure your online store is, looks, and feels reliable.
  2. Display of abandonment intent – For example, when a visitor makes a quick mouse movement towards the X button to exit the page. This can be hard to identify, but some solutions, like EngageBay, make it easier by allowing you to track your customers’ activity in real time. Personalized coupons or a well-timed message can go a long way.
  3. Post abandonment – If the situation evolves to this stage, it’s probably too late to keep the customer this time around, but you can try sending a shopping cart abandonment email to remind them to come back. Statistics show one in ten customers will return, though the exact numbers vary based on the type of business and how well the email is designed.

12. Nearly a quarter of customers abandon their carts if they need to create an account at checkout.

(Source: Baymard)

Requiring the user to make an account can lead to an exceptionally high checkout abandonment rate—24% of customers are likely to give up on the purchase when that happens.

But allowing guests to buy items directly isn’t always enough. About 17% of shoppers will still abandon a retail site if the checkout form is too complicated. How do you simplify it enough?

Ideally, you want as few as seven form fields (where you type information), but the average checkout page has customers go through 15. Removing unnecessary fields such as date of birth or secret questions can be a good start.

13. Three out of four shoppers expect free delivery.

(Source: Shopify)

One major factor in an online shopper’s decision to buy or leave items in an online shopping cart is shipping. A study found that 75% of shoppers expect free delivery. Moreover, 58% look for free next-day delivery.

While it can be expensive to offer free on-time shipping on all instances, making it available for those who spend above a certain threshold can be a good way of convincing people to buy from you—and maybe even buy more than they would otherwise.

Wrap Up

Running an online business is much like managing a physical store, only that everything is digital or “e-something.”

At the end of the day, though, when a customer walks in, you don’t want them to leave empty-handed. Alas, our cart abandonment statistics show that that’s exactly what happens far too often.

The good news is that now that you know the main reasons behind this phenomenon, you should be able to counteract it much more successfully.

Jordan T. Prodanoff
Jordan T. Prodanoff

A wayfarer by heart, Jordan fancies journeying into foreign lands with a camera in hand almost as much as he enjoys roving the online world. He spends his time poking at letters and pixels, trying to transmogrify them into something cool.