How and Why Cart-Abandonment Rates Vary by Industry

The average cart-abandonment rate is around 69%, and that is a fact. But the rate varies quite a bit depending on the product or service on offer across different industries. Which raises the question as to why exactly cart-abandonment rates vary by industry, and what can be done to reduce it on a case-by-case basis?

The best way to understand how these rates compare is to take a quick look at cart-abandonment rates by industry:

  • Gaming: 67.4%
  • Fashion: 67.6%
  • Retail: 77.3%
  • Non-Profit: 82.1%
  • Travel: 82.2%
  • Finance: 83.7%

Those numbers are clear and straightforward, but they do not do eCommerce merchants any justice without explaining exactly “why” they differ. To be perfectly clear, these numbers are averages and do not account for individual retailers, CRO efforts, or strategies to combat cart-abandonment. In this article, we will detail the practical reasons as to why abandonment rates vary by industry, as opposed to the technical reasons which are well documented.

Gaming: Average Cart-Abandonment Rate: 67.4%
Market Size: $108.9 Billion (video games)

These days, gaming primarily concerns video games. However, the exact meaning has expanded over the years to include mobile games, board games (and apps that go with them) and online casino’s (gambling if you will). The abandonment rate as it currently stands is attributable to two unique factors:

  1. Try Before You Buy: Every major digital game allows players to download a free trial for their respective gaming platform. This way players can see if they like the game (and in the case of PCMR, achieve a reasonable amount of FPS on their hardware) and strongly consider whether or not to buy it. Reviews and ratings are also a major factor, with gamers coming together to cannibalize companies that try and pull shtick on them.
  2. Parents Are Not Picky: When it comes to entertainment, children aren’t too picky (this doesn’t mean they are thrilled, as anyone who ever owned a pet rock will attest to this fact) this is mostly because they aren’t spending their own money. Hence adults, as you are aware, are making that decision – and price (as well as age rating) is a key factor.

Gamer’s take gaming seriously and will spend whatever it takes just to squeeze out a few more FPS in the latest AAA titles.

Fashion: Average Cart-Abandonment Rate: 67.6%
Revenue: $332.1 Billion (clothes, shoes, sportswear etc. – Global)

In the world of eCommerce, Fashion is the 2nd highest growth segment! As a rule, fashion is equal parts psychology and economics. It’s psychology because people who are into the latest fashion are strongly compelled to purchase the latest clothes as a means of not falling out of trend and being the envy of their friends and co-workers. Its economics because people buy at the price-point they can afford. Thus every (fashion) item imaginable can range in price from a few dollars to “this jacket is worth more than your car”.

Obama in mom jeans

For President Obama, ‘mom jeans” were the height of men’s casual fashion. America strongly disagreed on this.

Hence, the low abandonment rate is, in practical terms, the result of shoppers browsing sites that carry affordable brands relative to their purchasing power. If you can afford to shop at Sachs Fifth Avenue, why would you spend time checking out Zara’s – and vice versa? Likewise, even shoppers who can comfortably afford to spend more will still seek out a deal to save cash now and again.

Retail: Average Cart-Abandonment Rate: 77.3%
Sales: $434 Billion (United States)

Retail really covers everything and anything when it comes to everyday consumer goods. Because of that fact, shoppers are inclined to buy what they need at the price point they want. A fact which many marketers and behavioral analysts miss about commodities – the price comes first, and the brand comes second.

If you want an iPhone, but I can’t afford the latest model, Apple provides the entry-level SE for $349. If You want a burger, but hate McDonald’s, you will spend the few additional dollars for a quality burger. Retailers are often competing on price, with brand loyalty coming in second place after that.

Non-Profit: Average Cart-Abandonment Rate: 82.1%
Revenue: $1.65 Trillion (United States)

Non-profit’s (or 501(c) as defined by the IRS) primarily refers to charities, religious organizations, or research centers (think tanks) that benefit society as a whole. Americans are the most charitable people per capita, and the United States is home to over  1.5 million registered nonprofits. Their revenue comes from private donations, corporate sponsorship, and yes, even selling goods.


They offer a pretty compelling reason to support their work.

However, following the 2008 financial crisis and a slew of major scandals involving well-known non-profits over the past decade, these days donors are applying serious scrutiny prior to pledging support. Hence the abandonment rate can be attributed to donors doing their homework.

Travel: Average Cart-Abandonment Rate: 82.2%
Sales: $7.6 Trillion (Global)

We all have a little spark inside of us that calls for adventure, and who hasn’t thought about dropping everything and flying halfway around the world to just veg out on top of a mountain?


This too is an option.

Escape fantasies aside, two keys issues impact travel:

  1. Price: Sure, you can fly halfway around the world for less than the cost of a brand-new Galaxy S9, but can you afford where to stay and what to eat once you get there?
  2.  Availability: This is the factor that tends to create the most issues. You can find the right deal, but maybe your boss is begging you to stay in the office to help complete a major project. Perhaps a family emergency will arise, or a global crisis. While none of these factors have put an absolute end to leisurely travel, they do force people to make compromises about when they travel and where they stay.

Ultimately, these factors come together to create a high abandonment rate. That’s aside from the fact that prices fluctuate wildly, schedules are always subject to change, and to your delight, you may discover that your kid is on a no-fly list for inexplicable reasons.

Finance: Average Cart-Abandonment Rate: 83.7%
Market Size: $1.4 Trillion (United States)

The title here is misleading because insurance is also bundled with finance when it comes to both economic and cart-abandonment metrics. So, what can explain the high rate of cart-abandonment? It is simple: the endless forms that need to be filled out just to get a quote. While this is often justified for both legal and practical reasons, it often frustrates visitors who might otherwise be interested in the product or service on offer.

Godzilla vs. King Kong

Good luck getting coverage for something like this!

This is compounded by the fact that APR on loans is often accompanied by tiny, hard to read font that demands a legal background in finance backed by 20 years of experience to really understand. Furthermore, terms and conditions as they apply to insurance policies and financial services are not any less confusing to the average shopper.

Reducing Cart-Abandonment in YOUR Industry:

Now, what can you do to reduce abandonment rates if you are involved in any of the industries listed in this article? Let’s start with the following industries: Travel, Non-profit, and Finance.  All these industries offer products and services that do not constitute “fire and forget decisions” since they entail serious commitments on the part of the shopper. Book at the wrong hotel and you might get bed bugs. Fund the wrong charity and you might have a guilty conscience. Buy the wrong insurance policy? That is not something you can laugh off when your home or health is on the line. So, here is what should be done to reduce cart-abandonment.

  • Straight and Simple: This is especially relevant if you are in finance or insurance. Make sure the copy used in your on-site and omnichannel marketing campaigns, really makes sense to the average visitor. The sooner they understand what you can do for them, the better – this is a fundamental concept of conversion rate optimization. Why waste time and resources on “potential” leads just because they visited your site? It’s better to focus on shoppers that truly understand what’s on offer.
  • Come Back Later: So, for shoppers that are genuinely interested and may have even started filling out forms (or looking at flights) allow them to pick up their progress on the site when convenient, by using an email collection popup such as “send me my cart” that does just that. This helps build a profile on the shopper which can then be applied towards omnichannel retargeting campaigns if for whatever reason they cannot commit to your product or service at this specific time.
  • Timing: This is important when it comes to emails, and a lot of it depends on how you set up your triggered emails. But when it comes to forms that need to be filled out, the best time to make sure that happens is in the evening or during the weekend. Therefore, it is important to use a series of triggered emails sent out at alternating intervals until the visitor comes back to complete the form.
send me my cart

An example of “send me my cart”.

Now, as for video games, retail and fashion, the best way to reduce cart abandonment across these industries are as follows:

  • Reviews: Shoppers appreciate the feedback left by their pears prior to making purchase decisions. This feedback helps them understand the quality of the product and the retailer. Placing shopper feedback with regards to a specific product on the page itself helps reduce the chance of abandonment because shoppers do not have to leave the page to learn more about the product.
  • Shipping: Shipping should be free whenever possible, but more than that – it should be available in a few (premium) configurations from “some time next week” to “literally tomorrow morning”. Beyond that, returns should be free, or at the very least, do no under any circumstances charge a restocking fee.
  • Sorting: This should really be filed under “site search” but in all practicality getting shoppers to use a sorting tool is a solid way to reduce cart-abandonment and increase conversions. It’s a well-established fact that site-search has an up to 20% CVR because of shoppers “intent to purchase” but that primarily applies to a situation where a visitor knows exactly what they are looking for based on the product name alone. In this case, by prompting shoppers to use your sorting tools you can help them narrow down their search based on factors such as age group, gender, price, etc. relative to what it is they are looking to buy. This will save them time and reduce the chances that they needlessly add items to their cart which they don’t really plan on purchasing in the first place.

In Conclusion:

Now that you know how your industry ranks in the world of cart-abandonment, the only question is: do you need any help tackling the issue?

Datacrushers 14-day free trial


Founded in 2015, Datacrushers uses Machine Learning and A.I. along with NLP to identify and recover revenue loss, cart abandonment and discover new revenue sources across any site.  The revenue discovery platform completes the deep ongoing analysis of eCommerce websites by monitoring the three main focal points of any site: The User, Site, and Product.

Unlike traditional “cart abandonment platforms,” Datacrushers does not require shoppers and customers to be logged-in to conduct both on and offsite campaigns. We use a wide range of data-driven and analytics based conversion tools to target the shopper at the right time with the most accurate and effective campaign to drive the sale.

Datacrushers is platform, language, and currency agnostic and requires only a few lines of code to get started therefore delivering an ultra-fast go-to-market with minimal set-up time and tech intervention.

Based out of Jerusalem, Israel, Datacrushers has clients worldwide including,  The US, China, Russia, UK, Germany, and more.

By | 2018-03-27T17:43:59+00:00 February 28th, 2018|Cart-Abandonment|Comments Off on How and Why Cart-Abandonment Rates Vary by Industry