E-Commerce: How Long From Site Visit to Purchase?

July 6, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Connected Device Comparisons | Digital | Mobile Phone | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Retail & E-Commerce | Tablet

Monetate-E-Commerce-Purchases-by-Hour-Jul2016Monetate has released its latest E-commerce Quarterly benchmark report [pdf] covering Q1 2016, and the focus of this report (beyond the usual benchmarks) is an analysis of purchase timing. Not too surprisingly, the study shows that the largest share (though only a minority 42%) of purchases takes place within an hour of a shopper’s first visit to a website. But what happens after is intriguing.

After that first hour, there’s a strong dip in purchases: just 9% of all purchases occur in the 6 hours after those first 60 minutes. However, rather than that trend continuing to curve down (with fewer purchases each following hour), it picks back up again. In fact, a new peak in purchases occurs roughly one day after the initial visit. In fact, 10% of all purchases are made 22-24 hours after the shopper’s first visit.

This suggests that shoppers have somewhat defined times for shopping, and that if they don’t make a purchase within the first hour of their visit, they’re somewhat likely to come back and do their shopping at about the same time the next day.

In other timing data, Monetate says that desktop’s dominance is largely the result of the traditional workday. Indeed, desktop’s popularity (measured in terms of share of page views) is highest during the work hours between 8AM and 4PM, peaking at around 2PM (with 84% of page views). By contrast, mobile activity is highest in the commuting hours, early morning and late nights, with mobile phones’ peak popularity in the early morning and tablets’ in the late evening (although tablets never surpass mobile phones in page views). These are somewhat logical conclusions, but it’s always nice to have the data back them up.

As for cross-device shopping? It maybe doesn’t occur quite as often as thought, and that’s especially true of the desktop: when browsing starts on a desktop, 99% of those purchases are made on a desktop. The corresponding figure for tablets is slightly lower (84%), and considerably lower for mobile phones, though 64% of purchase journeys initiated on phones end on them too.

Those results indicate that the larger the screen, the more comfortable the shopper in making a purchase. And the benchmarks released alongside the report confirm that smartphones continue to lag across various metrics. Specifically, for US shopping sessions:

  • The average smartphone conversion rate (1.3%) in Q1 was well below that of tablets (3.45%) and desktops (4%);
  • The add-to-cart rate on smartphones (6.23%) was far less than on tablets (10.42%) and desktops (11.03%);
  • Shoppers averaged more page views on desktops (9.56) and tablets (9.41) than on smartphones (7.18), though the narrower gap gives more weight to the thought that smartphones are used primarily for research; and
  • Average order values were highest on desktops ($118.59), trailed by tablets ($98.07) and smartphones ($81.57).

About the Data: Monetate’s report is based on more than 7 billion shopping sessions that took place during 1 2016.

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