Shopping Cart Abandonment Statistic You Should Know in 2021

Shopping Cart Abandonment Statistic You Should Know in 2021
Charlene Boutin
Charlene Boutin Feb 3, 2021 — 8 min read

Shopping cart abandonment is the bane of any ecommerce brand’s existence.

No online store is immune. Even the most optimized, best-designed ecommerce stores will have some carts left behind.

But shopping cart abandonment may be more prevalent than you thought – and could be costing you much more than it should.

Here are the latest shopping cart abandonment statistics to keep in mind in 2021, as well as how to harness this knowledge to help you retain more customers and make more sales.


What is the average cart abandonment rate?

Average cart abandonment rates change every year. They’ll also differ depending on which study you look at.

The latest studies show that shopping cart abandonment ranges from 57.60% to 84.27%. And, according to the SaleCycle report, the numbers for different industries vary as well.

Shopping cart abandonment statistics for 2021 broken down by industry

But those numbers only tell one side of the story. Did you know that mobile cart abandonment rates tend to be much higher than for desktops?

This is most likely because many ecommerce brand owners don’t optimize their mobile websites as much as they should.

The clunkier the shopping experience, the less likely a customer is to complete the purchase – especially if there are several steps involved.

Shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem for online retailers – here’s why

Yes, cart abandonment is an unavoidable reality of Ecommerce. But high rates can hurt online brands and prevent them from becoming profitable or scaling.

Even the lowest estimated percentage of abandonment cart rate (57.60%) loses you over half of your sales!

At worst, 84% is costing you nearly all of your sales. But those are averages, so your abandonment rate could be even higher than that.

In total, ecommerce stores lose 18$ billion in sales per year only because of cart abandonment alone.

This is a problem, especially if you are spending a lot on marketing. Whether you’re using organic or paid methods to drive traffic to your online store, every abandoned shopping cart is money wasted.

Here’s an example. If you have a Facebook ad campaign running with an average cost per click of $3, and 50% of those clicks initiate checkout, you now have a $6 cost per checkout.

With these numbers, let’s compare what the 50% cart abandonment rate looks like compared to 80%.

While your cost per conversion is only $12 in the former case, the latter gets you a cost per conversion of over $19.

Depending on your margins and shipping costs, this could make a huge difference in whether or not you actually make a profit.

But don’t despair – studies have shown that you can increase conversion rates by 35.26% by optimizing your website to decrease abandonment rates.

5 Reasons why shopping carts are abandoned (and how to prevent that)

So why do people abandon carts so frequently in the first place?

According to the shopping cart abandonment statistics collected by the Baymard Institute, the reasons are numerous:

Shopping cart abandonment statistics collected by the Baymard Institute

First, let’s tackle what we just discussed – even if people are fully ready to buy your products, they’ll have a difficult time if your website is clunky.

Make sure your ecommerce store uses intuitive navigation and loads quickly, especially the checkout page.

The flow from “Add product to cart” to “Complete purchase” should also be obvious for your users. If they have to ask themselves how to initiate and complete the checkout process, there’s a higher chance they’ll either do it later, or completely abandon their cart in frustration.

However, website flow isn’t even the main reason why people don’t complete their purchases.

1. People might be not ready to buy right away

The most popular reason why people abandon shopping carts is actually not included in the list above because it’s purely behavioral and not related to the website design.

58.6% of users say they don’t complete purchases because they are just browsing and not quite ready to buy.

When someone isn’t ready to purchase, you may not be able to prevent the abandonment, but you can give them a solid reason to come back.

For example, you can use an exit-intent popup that gets triggered on the Checkout page to give users a special offer.

Exit-intent email popup example from the WAKEHEART store

You can use this offer to add them to your email list or a messenger bot.

Now, this doesn’t mean your shoppers will buy right away. But now that you have their permission to email them, you can use a cart abandonment email sequence to attempt to close the deal.

And even if they don’t take you up on that offer, there’s a higher likelihood that they will return to your store if you have a solid email marketing strategy.

To replicate a popup like this one, you can use Getsitecontrol. It’s a no-code app for Ecommerce with a large gallery of popup templates to customize and add to your store. Here is a typical exit-intent popup example:

However, you can still salvage some buyers, even without email marketing – if you have a paid ads budget.

You probably already know you can use Facebook Ads to retarget users who visited your store. But did you know that you can create specific campaigns for specific pages?

For instance, you can create an ad specifically for people who visited the Checkout page but didn’t complete the order.

So why create an ad that’s so specific? Well, if you retarget everyone with the same ad, you won’t be able to write sales copy that specifically calls out the fact that they didn’t complete their order.

You can use this as an opportunity to show them a limited-time offer if they decide to click through and complete their order. Only those who abandoned their carts will see this offer.

2. Additional costs are too high

According to the statistics, the second most common reason for shopping cart abandonment is that the additional costs of making the order are too high (50%). Those additional costs can include shipping, customs, or taxes.

To convince more shoppers to complete their orders, make sure to include free shipping over a certain order threshold.

Most ecommerce sites will include a banner with the required threshold stated, just like Wooden Wick:

A free shipping banner helps reduce shopping cart abandonment for ecommerce

If you offer international shipping, some countries that you ship to will charge your customers customs fees. You can markup the cost of your products and offer to pay those fees, but only if a large enough percentage of your customer base resides in those countries. Otherwise, it’s not worth it for you or your other customers.

3. Too much effort required to complete the purchase

Next to costs, another common cause of shopping cart abandonment is the need for users to create an account (28%), or a checkout process that’s too long or complicated (21%).

Most ecommerce brands use a guest checkout option so that customers don’t need to create an account to complete a transaction. Of course, there are benefits to your customers creating an account – you can increase retention by having them opt in to your email list or give them fun incentives like loyalty points.

However, you risk losing out on customers if you force this step on them.

If you currently don’t have a guest checkout option, make sure to add one now, and you’ll most likely see a decrease in your cart abandonment rate.

Additionally, you can take this one step further and simplify your checkout process.

Remember, every separate loading page that’s a part of your checkout process is a new chance for your buyers to lose patience and bounce from your site.

In other cases, your customer could be short on time and not have the time to complete all the required forms before they need to move on to another task. When this happens, some customers will come back later to complete the purchase, but others will either forget about it or change their minds. Yikes!

There’s an easy fix for this: offer one-click checkouts.

This skips the shopping cart entirely and uses existing information on your shopper’s other accounts, such as PayPal, Google, or Apple, to complete the order in a single click.

If your store accepts PayPal, you can use this option to easily help your buyers complete more purchases.

Bath & BodyWorks offers PayPal among payment options in their store

If you’re selling on Shopify, you can also use plugins, such as the One-Click Checkout.

Amazon uses a one-click checkout on every product page to take the chore out of completing orders. This not only reduces shopping cart abandonment, but it eliminates the shopping cart entirely, so there is no shopping cart to abandon at all.

Amazon uses a one-click checkout option to reduce shopping cart abandonment

4. The total cost of the order comes as a surprise

Another big cause of shopping cart abandonment, at 18%, is that people cannot calculate the total cost of their order upfront.

Everyone has been there – you load up on items you really want from a new online brand you just discovered, only to spend 5 to 10 minutes completing the checkout process to find out the shipping is WAY too expensive for your budget.

At this point, you either abandon your order or drop some items to make room in your budget.

This is so frustrating that it’s not unlikely for buyers to abandon their carts before they initiate checkout if they can’t calculate fees and shipping costs first. If you show that you value your customers’ time, they’ll be much happier.

To make shipping costs more transparent, you should include a cost calculator accessible BEFORE your customers initiate checkout.

Big Bottle Co does this on their cart page to remove any ambiguity for their customers.

Embedded shipping cost calculator helps to lower cart abandonment

If you absolutely cannot include a cost calculator, the second best option would be to have a very clear and easy to understand shipping chart near your cart. This isn’t as great because your customers will need to do the mental gymnastics of calculating the cost themselves, but at least they won’t need to drudge through the checkout process to find out their total order amount.

5. Your store mobile version is a nightmare

Finally, as you may have guessed by the cart abandonment statistics for mobile… you can definitely increase your conversion rates by making sure your mobile store doesn’t suck!

While this isn’t necessarily an easy fix, it’s an important one.

The easiest way to make your ecommerce store mobile-friendly is to use a responsive website theme.

However, you can go so much further than this by creating a mobile-only version of your store, with some important changes thrown in, such as:

  • ✔️ Shorter sales copy that sticks to the necessary text only and makes your store easier to read
  • ✔️ Your most important elements placed above the fold, so users don’t have to scroll as much to get where they want
  • ✔️ Different image placement or sizes (or removing some images entirely)
  • ✔️ Mobile-friendly popups that are easy to remove or opt into on smaller screens
  • ✔️ Larger buttons that are easier to click, especially for users who may not be as agile

In addition to these changes, make sure your mobile version loads quickly. It’s easy for mobile users to click away with one swipe of their thumb if your checkout page doesn’t load within a second or two.

Decrease shopping cart abandonment numbers in your store

Shopping cart abandonment stats can be daunting. However, by putting all these tips to use, you can drive down the number of abandoned carts in your store and make more sales from the visitors who are already engaged.

💡Bonus tip! There’s one more step you can take to become proactive when it comes to your shopping cart – you can survey your abandoning customers before they leave.

Consider adding an exit-intent popup with Getsitecontrol to ask store visitors about the reasons why they abandoned their cart. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it will give you priceless insight on how you can improve your conversion rates.

Charlene Boutin is a B2B writer for hire specialized in creating compelling case studies, blog posts, and converting copy for digital entrepreneurs and SaaS businesses. When not writing, she can be found prototyping weird games in Unity or playing on her Nintendo Switch.

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