Your Mobile Conversion Rate – Good or Bad? We Review the Studies

One of the challenges with mobile commerce is that there are relatively few benchmarks available for key metrics like conversion rate. A frequent refrain we hear from retailers is: my mobile conversion rate is X% – is this good or bad?

In this post we introduce you to some mobile conversion rate benchmarks that you can use to evaluate your own site’s performance. What you’ll learn in this post:

1. Rules of thumb on mobile conversion

2. The sources of reliable data on mobile conversion rates

3. Good, bad, and average conversion rates on mobile

Note that this post covers mobile phone conversion rates. We’ll cover tablet conversion rates, also often included in the “mobile” category, in a future post.

1. Rules of Thumb on Mobile Conversion

  • Tablets convert better than phones
  • PCs, by and large, still convert better than tablets
  • iOS tends to convert better than Android
  • “Rule of thumb” for average phone conversion rate: 1%

2. Reliable Sources of Data on Mobile Conversion Rates

Reliable mobile conversion rate benchmarks tend to come from a handful of sources: 1) web analytics vendors like Adobe (Omniture) and IBM (Coremetrics); 2) SEM software vendors like Marin and Kenshoo, and 3) smaller agencies and commerce software providers like Branding Brand and Monetate. (Certainly there are others we should be including – if you know of them, email us at info@getmobilehero.com and we’ll include in updates to this post.)

Below are links to each of the vendor studies and their latest reported mobile phone conversion rates for the U.S.

A few caveats on the data:

1) The above vendors don’t disclose exactly how they define “conversion rate.” For example, Marin’s higher-than-average conversion rate of 2.8% probably includes non-purchase conversions as defined by the search marketer (for example, a mobile searcher clicking the store locator button might be counted as a conversion, where as Branding Brand might only be counting purchases as conversion).

2) Seasonality also plays a big role, so holiday-period conversion rates will be higher than full calendar year conversion rates.

3. Good, bad, and average conversion rates on mobile

Any good marketer knows that conversion rates are highly sensitive to industry and product types, so there is only so much value one can get from industry benchmarks.  With that said, here are the good, bad, and average conversion rates we’ve seen:

Good mobile conversion rate: 6%+.  This is a sophisticated, specialty retailer in a category that lends itself well to mobile buying.  Not everyone will be able to achieve this, but We have worked with retailers that have mobile conversion rates as low as 0.1%, and others who have mobile conversion rates in excess of 6%.

Bad mobile conversion rate: 0.1%.  This is an apparel retailer without a lot of the key infrastructure in place to support an effective e-commerce business (free shipping, email marketing, etc.), and with a pretty crappy mobile experience.

Average mobile conversion rate: 1%.  As you’ll see in the chart below, averaging the studies mentioned voer the 2011-2012 time period yields an average mobile conversion rate of around 1%. This is a pretty good bogey to be shooting for when thinking about how your mobile site should be performing.

Mobile Conversion Rates

The short answer is that there is almost always significant headroom for growth in improving your mobile conversion rate, and that in certain categories it will probably be the norm a few years from now that mobile will outperform desktop.

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