SOURCE: ScanAlert

July 10, 2007 07:45 ET

Report Shows Online Shoppers Taking 80% Longer to Buy

Analysis of 2.6 Million Online Sales Shows Big Increase in Past Two Years

NAPA, CA--(Marketwire - July 10, 2007) - Shoppers are taking on average 34 hours and 19 minutes from the time they first visit an ecommerce site to when they finally make a purchase, according to a new analysis of 2.6 million online sales by ScanAlert. Data presented in the report, Digital Window Shopping: The Long Delay Before Buying, shows the delay is now more than half a day (80%) longer than the 19 hour 11 min average ScanAlert reported in 2005.

The new study mines transactional data from online shoppers who purchased on 470 websites. The sales delay behavior was recorded during individual A/B split tests the sites ran to evaluate the effect displaying ScanAlert's HACKER SAFE® certification mark had on visitor-to-buyer conversion rates.

"The primary reasons for the increase over 2005 are greater sourcing choices, and the availability of broadband access at work and in the home," said report author Nigel Ravenhill, ScanAlert's Director of Marketing Communications. "It is a bit of a paradox for retailers, because while faster Internet access allows you to complete your order quickly, it also enables you to jump rapidly from site-to-site. Combine that with the increasing popularity of shopping search engines, and you have the ideal environment for increased digital window shopping."

When compared to the 2005 data, delays are increasing for all time periods:

Delay         2005     2007     Increase
> 1 hour       50%      57%         14%
> 3 hours      40%      44%         10%
> 12 hours     35%      37%          5%
> One day      28%      30%          7%
> Three days   21%      26%         23%
> One week     14%      18%         28%
> Two weeks     4%       6%         50%
"The most notable increase is clearly the behavior of the "cautious shoppers," those shoppers who take more than three days to purchase," Ravenhill continued. "They are becoming even more cautious, with the delays up sharply compared to the same periods in the 2005 report."

The 2007 research illustrates yet again that shopping cart abandonment is a habitual part of many consumers' "window shopping" behavior prior to purchasing, and an unavoidable fact of life for retailers. Other conclusions discussed in the report include:

1.  Retailers must reevaluate their pay per click (PPC) advertising
    campaigns, using a much longer time frame to calculate ROI.

2.  Consumers spending the longest time shopping are also the most
    concerned about the safety of the sites where they shop, and thus the
    most influenced by merchants who build an online comfort zone.
"In particular, any retailer, marketer or online fundraiser that simply tracks the ratio of paid search clicks-to-immediate-sales is making a critical error in calculating the ROI of their advertising campaigns," Ravenhill noted. "It is vital to understand that revenue from immediate or impulse purchases is typically balanced by transactions from latent shoppers."

Two proven methods to transform shoppers into buyers are creating a comfort zone for comparison shoppers, and ignoring shopping cart abandonment to focus on the much bigger issue of "site abandonment." Organizations with transactional sites need to make the online experience more informative, and the sense of safety more memorable, in order to influence those who abandon their carts to return later when ready to buy.

About the Report

Digital Window Shopping: The Long Delay Before Buying, is based on 480 A/B split tests run by 470 websites. The 2,652,795 aggregate sales recorded between 5/1/2005-5/1/2007 were generated by 128,264,941 visitors. Sites represented a cross-section of organizations, ranging from small, medium, and enterprise B2B and B2C retailers; to non-profits, content publishers, manufacturers, and ecommerce pure plays. Differences in the time delay between sites depended on a variety of factors, including customer demographics, brand equity/recognition, the number of competitors online, and average product price.

Obtaining a Copy

To obtain a copy of the final report, visit

About ScanAlert

ScanAlert secures organizations of all sizes against threats to their network infrastructure and then certifies them to the HACKER SAFE standard -- the world's Internet security benchmark. Offered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, HACKER SAFE technology protects more than 200,000 websites in over 70 countries worldwide. Well-known sites displaying the trustmark include ESPN, The American Red Cross, Toshiba, Sony Music Store and Warner Brothers, along with the majority of the 500 largest online retailers in the USA. ScanAlert also operates HACKER SAFE Labs, the security industry's only research group focused on ecommerce application security. More information is available at

Contact Information

  • ScanAlert Contact:

    Nigel Ravenhill
    Dir of Marketing Communications
    Tel: 877-302-9965 X1111
    Email: Email Contact