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How COVID-19 Is Impacting eCommerce Sales

As the world reacts to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to supply detailed information on how this virus is affecting eCommerce stores. 

While this article focuses on sales in the United States, we will be releasing additional data on various countries in the coming days. 

We explore how the coronavirus is driving online purchase behavior as it relates to shopping cart abandonment rates, conversion rates, and average order values. 

This post was updated on March 30th, 2020. 

A Quick Primer: US Timeline for COVID-19

For context, here is a brief timeline for COVID-19 in the United States. 

For more fuller timelines, please refer to this summary for February and this summary for March

January 30, 2020 - The first confirmed case is reported in the US. 

February 26, 2020 - First unknown origin case in California is reported

February 28, 2020 - First school closures occur in Washington State and Oregon. 

February 29, 2020 - First US death of COVID-19

March 4, 2020 - First US death outside of Washington state, in California. Total deaths reach 11. 

March 16, 2020 - San Francisco and other Bay Area counties are ordered to "shelter in place". Only grocery, hardware, pharmacy and banks are allowed to remain open. Restaurants may deliver. 

How COVID-19 Affects eCommerce Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates (United States)

In the weeks since COVID-19 entered the US, shopping cart abandonment has dropped significantly. 

Before the pandemic, average cart abandonment was 75.71%.

Since, the cart abandonment rate has declined in lock stop with growing awareness in the United States, dropping to a low of 59.76% before inching higher to 64.98%.

These low cart abandonment rates mirror exactly what we saw on other high-intent days such as Black Friday and implies shoppers are visiting with an added intent to purchase as they react to news of the virus spreading through the nation.

Cart abandonment on Black Friday was 68.08% in 2019.

The move is even more pronounced on computer devices. 

We know from previous cart abandonment statistics studies that computers average a yearly cart abandonment rate of 73.93%, and 6.86% lower than mobile devices. 

In this chart, we see the average computer cart abandonment rate start very near the yearly average at 74.79% before spiking down first to 62.63% toward the end of January 2020 and then another spike in mid February to 54.83%. 

Abandonment rates have stayed locked in at the 54% rate for five weeks before pushing a bit up to 57.61%. Still, the total drop of 27.36% is incredible. 

How COVID-19 Affects Conversion Rate in the United States

We can also see how COVID-19 affects conversion rates in the United States. 

COVID-19 increased average conversion rates by an astonishing 113.2%! When the pandemic started in the United States, conversion rates were 1.44%. As of writing, that number has jumped to a peak of 3.07%, with the lastest data showing an average conversion rate of 2.92%. 

Again, we are able to segment this conversion rate growth across devices. 

For computers, sessions averaged 2.25% conversion rate before COVID-19. Conversion rates began shooting up towards the end of January, peaking mid March at 4.18% - an 85% jump!

While mobile conversion rates remained well below computer sessions, we still see the massive surge in conversions.

Before COVID-19 mobile sessions were converting at just under 1% (0.89%). However, that number has almost doubled as the virus has spread through the country to 1.92%. 

"COVID-19 has increased average conversion rates by 85.77%."Barilliance Research

How COVID-19 Affects Average Order Value in the United States

Finally, we can examine how COVID-19 is affecting the average order value in the United States. 

Again, I pulled data from the start of the pandemic through today. 

Before the COVID-19 hit the states, average AOV in our database was $129.70. That number immediately spiked to $194.26.

That jump has mostly persisted, reaching a peak value of $240.63 before dipping and coming back up this last week to a max AOV of $248.28.

How COVID-19 Affects Revenue per Session in the United States

The increase in conversion rates and AOV produces a substantial effect on the revenue per visitor during COVID-19. 

Before the crisis, revenue per visitor sat at $2.03. That number almost doubled in a week to $3.82.  The revenue per visitor number bounced between an upper bound of $4.67 to a low of $3.09, but never dropped below $3.  In fact, the latest data shows a resurgence, with the revenue per visitor popping back up to $4.56 as customers continue to make big orders at a higher rate. 

How COVID-19 Affects Session Length in the United States

We can also see how customer engagement has changed. 

With the increased conversions, we expected to see a similar increase in average session length. However, we found session length initially dropped by 16.6%. However, as the pandemic became more present in the United States, we do see the average session length increasing. So far it hasn't reached pre-COVID-19 levels.

That being said, since hitting a low it has increased 12.58%!

Next Steps...

We will be monitoring how online shopping behavior changes as the fight against COVID-19 continues. 

Updates will be made to this page. Additionally, we will publish additional country specific and global studies. 

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