2020 is a year of extremes for many retailers. Dealing with surges and declines in demand, swings in supply chain dynamics, and pressure on prices has strained many of our clients. We hope to offer stability—providing not only technology and services to deliver unified commerce and personalization, but also those much-needed insights to help with your business planning and execution. And that’s why we’re happy to announce our Q3 Ecommerce Benchmark report.

The original surge in online shopping in Q2 was particularly pronounced, and now we’re seeing that the increase in activity is sustained, but that it has settled somewhat, as people went outside in the summer months and lockdowns eased a bit. While year-over-year sales are down due to tighter budgets, many other metrics of activity are up. Views are higher as more people are online and avoiding shopping in stores. And mobile is up as shoppers move from desktop to the small screen.

And this quarter, we’re particularly excited to offer new insights in this report with a detailed look at bounce rates. With so many more people shopping online, many retailers are looking to capture new customers, and bounce rates can offer a valuable baseline to understand how effective their strategies are. And while it’s new ecommerce metric in this report, we’ve included data back to 2019 to provide some insight about how the pandemic has caused changes.

Shopper Activity Switches to Mobile as People Stay Online

The big winner of Q2 far appears to be mobile. Not only have millions of people moved more shopping online, they’re also moving from the desktop to their phone. In the Q2 EQ report we saw visits on Desktop and Mobile at a 50/50 split in the United States. As lockdown rules eased up in the States, it appears that how we shopped did too, with desktop sessions shrinking to 42% and mobile accounting for 54% of traffic—a 26% year over year growth for the channel. Mobile is even more popular in the United Kingdom, with 75.6% of sessions coming from mobile devices, an 8% uplift since Q3 2019.

Compared to Q3 last year, retailers and brands in the Unite States are reporting a lower number of page views per session as new shoppers visited for the first time and bounced. Also contributing is more loyal shoppers coming to quickly get what they need rather than browse. In the United Kingdom, page views have increased by 13%—users tend to browse more than double the page views than users in the United States. Both regions have seen page views on mobile decrease, whilst US has seen growth from desktop and page view behavior from desktop has remained the same for users in the UK compared to Q2 2020.

As shown in the Ecommerce Benchmark Report, visits from social media have seen significant growth this year, with many brands and retailers shifting paid advertising spend to the channel. Bounce rates from social media through the last year averaged 42%. Meanwhile, Q3 2020 had a 11% increase compared to Q2. 

Overall, websites we analyzed in the United States, bounce rates have had an increase each quarter since Q3 2019 and was at 55% for Q3—that means that 55% of visitors are landing on one page of a website and leaving. In the United Kingdom, that number is still high at 30%. For anyone experiencing this problem, be sure to read our Holiday Commerce Guide for tactics on how to reduce bounce rates. 

Online Transactions Start to Stabilize

Compared to Q2 2020, we have seen an 8% to 10% conversion rate decline across all regions. This drop occurred between Q4 and Q1, which is typical. But then the climb back in Q2 and Q3 was not as high as last year.  While we saw conversion rates in Q2 increase compared to Q1 as stores closed across the globe due to the pandemic, in Q3 we saw little to no growth compared to Q2. The United States was flat, and the UK reported just a 2% increase in conversion rate compared to Q2 2020.

On desktop, the United States has seen a 30% conversion rate decline in Q3 compared to the same period in 2019, but an 11% increase on mobile as the channel takes share away from desktop. In the United Kingdom, although traffic from mobile devices has grown by 8% year over year, conversion rate has seen a 16% decrease. Users are likely switching between devices to make a purchase. 

At a time when there isn’t much of a roadmap in front of us, and last year’s data can’t help guide future decisions, this Ecommerce Benchmark Report offers some much-needed insights about how retailers are faring in the midst of the pandemic. This recent data can help with near-term plans and help you determine where you might want to prioritize updates and improvements. When there is so much change to the way we do business this year, we hope that the Q3 2020: Ecommerce Quarterly Benchmark Report can help guide your planning and help you compare your performance to your peers in a way that helps with prioritization and planning.