Starting an ecommerce business entails preparing everything from online marketing strategies and website design to payment gateways. But simply getting them up and running isn’t enough. To ensure they function as intended and meet your business goals, monitoring their performance is essential.

One of the most critical ecommerce key performance indicators every online store needs to keep a close eye on is the add-to-cart conversion rate. While aiming for a high rate is ideal, realistic rates vary from industry to industry.

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What is the add-to-cart conversion rate?

Before we dive into the add-to-cart conversion rate by industry, we need to first understand what this metric covers.

Add-to-cart conversion rate: definition

The add-to-cart conversion rate refers to the percentage of website visitors who add at least one item to their online shopping cart out of the total number of visitors. 

What does the add-to-cart conversion rate measure?

It tracks the effectiveness of converting website traffic into potential customers interested in purchasing products, although they may not necessarily complete the purchase. While it does not tell you how many people actually go through with their purchases, it serves as a valuable indicator for various aspects of your store, including its usability, product assortment, pricing, and marketing strategy.

How to calculate the add-to-cart conversion rate?

  1. Select a specific time frame.
  2. Determine the number of sessions during which users added at least one product to their shopping carts.
  3. Determine the total number of site sessions during the selected time frame.
  4. Divide the number of sessions during which items were added to carts by the total number of site sessions.
  5. Multiply the result by 100 to obtain a percentage.

In short, the formula for calculating the add-to-cart conversion rate is:

(No. of sessions with items added to cart)/(Total no. of sessions)

What is a good add-to-cart rate?

A good add-to-cart rate for your store depends on many different factors. This includes the time of year and the sector your business is in, as online shopping habits differ among consumers, seasons, and industries.

Here’s a look at the add-to-cart conversion rates of the top industries. 

Add-to-cart conversion rate by industry (as of Feb 2024)

  1. Food and beverage: 10.91%
  2. Beauty and personal care: 8.47%
  3. Multi-brand retail: 8.44%
  4. Fashion, accessories, and apparel: 7.64%
  5. Consumer goods: 6.31%
  6. Pet care and veterinary services: 5.83%
  7. Luxury and jewelry: 3.35%
  8. Home and furniture: 3.33%

According to the latest data, as of February 2024, the industry with the highest rate is food and beverage. At 10.91%, it’s significantly higher than the average rate across all industries, which is 7.6%, and the only industry with an conversion rate of over 10%. Its conversion rate in February 2024 marks a marginal decrease of 0.08 percentage points from the previous month and is one of its worst-performing months over the past year. In contrast, its best-performing month came just three months prior in November 2023, when its rate hit 12.85%, likely a result of the year-end holiday season.

The beauty and personal care industry has the second-highest rate in February 2024. At 8.47%, it’s a 0.16 percentage point decline from the previous month. 

The industry with the third-highest rate in February 2024 is multi-brand retail, with 8.44%. This marks a 0.43 percentage point rise from the previous month. Over the past year, the industry’s rate was at its highest in November 2023, registering at 11.86%.

This is followed by the fashion, accessories, and apparel industry, with a conversion rate of 7.64%. It is the industry’s second-lowest rate in a year and comes after rising by 0.35 percentage points from the previous month. The consumer goods sector ranks next, with 6.31%. Pet care and veterinary services and luxury and jewelry have lower conversion rates of 5.83% and 3.35%, respectively. Of all the sectors, the home and furniture industry has the lowest add-to-cart rates of 3.33%. 

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