Average Website Conversion Rates in 5 Key Industries

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When you have a website, there are going to be certain actions you want a visitor to take. If you have an online store, you’ll want them to buy something. If you have a portfolio, you’ll want someone to get in contact with you.

Getting a visitor to complete an action is called a “conversion” and they are instrumental to having a successful website. Some industries will be more successful at converting visitors than others, but there are always ways for you to optimize your conversion rate.

A good conversion rate shows that your website is succeeding at its intended purpose.

In this guide, we’ll be going through the average conversion rates in five key online industries, talking you through who they are and what they do, and then explaining how you can increase your conversion rates. There may be a secret surprise at the end for those who get there…so let’s not waste any more time!

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How To Distinguish a Good Website Conversion Rate

A conversion is getting a visitor on your site to complete an action that you want them to do. Unfortunately, getting them to do this can be like herding cats.

The way we find out whether a site has good conversions is with the “conversion rate.” This tells you how many visitors to your site did what you wanted of them (how considerate!). This rate is worked out with this rather simple formula:

Formula for how conversion rates are worked out
The formula we use work out conversion rates.

So let’s say your desired action was sales. If you had 500 visitors in the past month and 13 sales, then your conversion rate would be 13/500 x 100, meaning you would have a conversion rate of 2.6%!

Is that good? Well, the average conversion rate for US ecommerce is 2.86%, so it’s quite bang on! But here at Website Builder Expert, we think everything could be improved, especially as the global conversion rate sits at 4.31%.

Your conversion rate can be based on several factors, such as

  • Industry – What is your site’s purpose? Does it focus on conversions for sales? What are you selling?
  • Audience demographic – Are they young? Old? Are they looking for something specific or are they shopping around?
  • Conversion goals – How do you measure conversions? For example, you might want to achieve ad clicks, checkout completions, newsletter subscriptions, etc

Sometimes it’s not enough just to convince your audience, you have to attract visitors who want to be convinced in the first place. And some industries have found a better converting crowd than others. Let’s check it out!

Stamford Sleep Solutions homepage, inviting visitors to schedule a consultation
SleepBetterCT is a sleep apnea site. A site like this will have high conversion as you would only come to this specialty site if you or someone close to you was suffering.

Top Tip

Always measure your conversions and visitors by a certain time frame, like a month or a quarter, so you can keep a consistent record of results. It also means that any efforts you make to improve your conversion rate can easily be checked against the previous months.

Find Out More

Average Website Conversion Rates in 5 Key Industries

  1. Specialty websites: 7.60% global conversion rate


  1. Catalog websites: 6.70% global conversion rate


  1. Fashion and apparel: 5.90% global conversion rate


  1. Outdoors and sports websites: 4.80% global conversion rate


  1. Software websites: 4.10% global conversion rate
Bar chart showing average website conversion rates in 5 key industries with specialty sites having the highest rate at 7.6%

Which Key Industries Have the Highest and Lowest Average Website Conversion Rates?

As you can see from the bar chart, specialty websites have the highest global conversion rate of 7.60%, whereas software websites have the lowest with a global conversion rate of 4.10%. 

Let’s run through all these industries and get an expert opinion on why there is such a spread in the results!

Specialty Sites

Why do specialty sites have the highest conversions? Well, a specialty website only sells a very niche product or service. For instance, how about a realistic vinyl baby werewolf doll for $1800? Customers visiting the site are more likely to convert since they’re looking for a particular thing – and once they’ve found it, they aren’t going to spend more time finding an alternative.

Additionally, they are more likely to return and be converted again because they have found a reliable site. Specialty sites boasted an impressive 8.80% conversion rate on repeat visitors, beating the conversion rate for first-time visitors by 1.50%!

From a marketing point of view, these customers are technically already committed to your product, and it’s now up to you to provide the customer with what they need to convert. Additionally, you’ll be able to appeal to specific customer needs more efficiently, guaranteeing even more traffic from those who have not yet converted. If you’re using an ecommerce website builder where they can buy the product directly from your store, then the process is even faster and more efficient.

Catalog Sites

Catalog sites are almost the opposite of specialty sites: they have such a wide range of products that at least one of them is guaranteed to pique the interest of a visitor. Once on the site, they are already in the “consideration” stage of marketing, which may lead to a conversion.

Marketing funnel example, featuring six levels and examples with the widest section at the top (awareness) and the smallest section at the bottom of the funnel (purchase).
The marketing funnel is commonly used to visualize a customer's journey from marketing campaign to sale.

Another interesting feature of catalog sites is the high return visitor conversion rate of 6.20%. This proves that customers satisfied with the catalog site are likely to return, especially around the holidays.

Fashion and Apparel Sites

Fashion sites sit in the middle of the list with a 5.90% global conversion rate. Fashion and apparel is a difficult industry to quantify because of the variety of different styles and customer tastes. Is a goth more likely to convert for a pair of studded boots? Or how about a cowboy for that white 10-gallon hat he’s always wanted?

We asked a number of fashion and apparel site owners what their conversion rates were so we could get a better understanding. Based on our own research, we saw a wide spread of conversion rates within the industry:

  • eNibbana – a luxury women’s online shoe store crossed the 2.0% conversion rate in September 2022 and increased its month-on-month conversion rate by 0.4% based on the previous year
  • ZippiLeather – an ecommerce leather brand store told us they had a conversion rate of 4.0%
  • DirtyCelebrity – this online alternative accessories store only had a conversion rate of 0.4%

Advice from Users

Headshot of business owner Yvette Estime Yvette Estime
Yvette Estime is the owner and lead designer of DirtyCelebrity, a boutique alternative fashion and accessories site.

Conversion relies on two numbers – traffic and sales. Typically, the more traffic you have the more sales. However, you need to know your target audience to get the right traffic.

My conversion rate for my store organically is 0.4%. An accessories brand’s average is around 1.4%. The industry benchmark is around 6%.
I believe I can surpass that once we start ads. This is organic traffic.
Conversion relies on two numbers – traffic and sales. Typically, the more traffic you have the more sales. However, you need to know your target audience to get the right traffic.
I once got 10K free in ads from Facebook but did not know my target audience so received no sales from the entire promotion.

Outdoors and Sports Sites

The outdoor and sports industry is the comeback kid in regard to conversion rates. While only coming in at fourth on the list, it’s still in the top five industries – which is impressive when you realize how far it’s come.

Back in 2010, outdoor and sports sites only had a conversion rate of 0.5% globally. They’ve now jumped to 4.80%, nearly a 900% increase!

Software Sites

Software sites have the lowest conversion rate of 4.10%. “Software” is anything that needs a computer to run and not the actual computer parts – that’s “hardware”.

Website builders like Wix, programs like Excel, and VPNs like NordVPN all fall under the broad umbrella of software. An issue this creates is that software will have very different requirements and features, giving it quite a high barrier for a first-time visitor. I mean, Website Builder Expert wouldn’t even exist if all software was easy to use and find!

Other challenges for software websites include their long and often confusing subscription plans. Some hosting plans renew every 36 months, not giving visitors much incentive to visit the site again, giving software sites a low repeat visitor conversion rate of 3.60% globally.

It must be said though that this article is only measuring conversion rates, not overall profit. While conversion rates do contribute to the projected profits, it’s not the be-all and end-all. A one-time purchase of some software may easily eclipse the price of repeat sales on a specialty site. It all depends on the price of the product and the lifetime of the customer relationship.

Unhappy with your conversion rate? Read our article and learn how to increase your conversion rate.

How To Improve Ecommerce Website Conversion Rates

If you’ve found out that your conversion rate isn’t as majestic as some of the figures we’ve presented so far – don’t panic! The average conversion rate of ecommerce websites is only 2.86% after all. Even so, we have scoured the net and our own research to bring you three tips for improving conversion on your site, so you’ll be raking in visitors and conversions before you know it!

A high conversion rate is definitely beneficial because not only does it prove your website is working as intended, but it shows that you have a high number of visitors. Growing online can be one of the hardest things for a new website owner to do, so being able to keep a consistent stream of visitors to your site is a good sign.

A low conversion rate usually means people are just browsing through your site without committing to any conversions. This may mean you aren’t being competitive or enticing enough to visitors to convert them. Once they land on your site, you want to keep them there until they convert.

3 tips to improve ecommerce website conversion rates

1. Use Less Form Fields On Your Website

As an online marketer, you are probably going to want as much information as possible about the visitors on your site. Why? Well, with data you can continually optimize your site so that it does better with your target audience. If most of your visitors are older, you may want to tone down the bright neon and hip slang, for example.

Most data you will receive through your site will be done through form fields – those messages that ask you to sign-up or leave your email address. Well, studies show that form fields do increase conversion… to an extent. Too many form fields can actually result in a decrease in conversion rates.

Completed form to track conversion rates with example information
This is what a typical form field looks like. They are a great way to keep track of all your conversions and provide insight into who the next conversions may come from.

From the perspective of a visitor, this makes sense –  no one wants to be bombarded with forms as soon as they get on a site. This would make most people leave and try to find another site that requires less data from them. Additionally, think about the type of form field you’re using. The study showed that text-based form fields didn’t seem to affect conversion, but overuse of drop-down menu form fields did.

The sweet spot of form fields and conversion is three, so don’t think you have to omit form fields from your site totally.

2. Devise an Email Marketing Strategy

In the ecommerce sphere, email marketing generates one of the highest ROIs in comparison to other marketing channels. Over 80% of customers prefer to interact with brands through email, so if you’re not engaging your potential conversions on their turf then you may be missing out.

But email marketing isn’t as simple as just sending email after lifeless email. Like with everything, there’s a strategy. You need to reel in potential visitors with email marketing best practices such as:

  • Engaging subject lines: You want people to open these emails and not ignore them, so try and grab their attention immediately. Think of what would get you to open an email from a company and try that. Chances are, it will work on at least a few people
  • Consistent design: You want your customers to recognize that the email came from you, so keep a consistent design so they know who you are
  • Personable tone: If your email is pure business, people aren’t going to want to read it. You need to appeal to their personality by appearing friendly, warm, and inviting. You want them to convert, remember
  • Testing, testing!: Email marketing services will let you do A/B testing for your email campaigns. This means you can try out two different versions of an email and then compare which one performed better, allowing you to hone in and optimize what method is leading to the most conversions

Email marketing has a lot more variables to play with in measuring their successes, however. There are not only conversions to keep track of, but open rates (OR), click-through rates (CTR), and bounce rates. Luckily, email marketing services keep track of all this data for you. From our own research, we recommend GetResponse as the easiest-to-use email marketing service. It’s beginner-friendly and gives you great value starter plans.

Additionally, remember your industry affects conversion rates. A specialty site is likely to get a higher conversion rate through email marketing as it targets a specific interest.

3. Encourage Online Reviews After Customers Make a Purchase 

Oftentimes, all it takes for a potential customer to convert is to follow the lead of someone before them. 97% of customers say online reviews help them to navigate purchasing decisions.

If you have reviews, say on Yelp or Trustpilot, you must put those scores up front and center on your website. Your potential customers will be looking at them, and they’ll appreciate the show of honesty and be more inclined to trust your website –  especially if your reviews are good.

If you currently have no reviews, try and generate some. Most website builders will have a form field feature that asks your visitors to leave a review. Once collected, you’ll be able to present that on your site: a sign to all visitors that not only have people used your site before, but they were satisfied with their visit.

Average Website Conversion Rates in 5 Key Industries: Summary

To summarize, conversion rates are a great way to see if you are truly connecting with your target audience. Specialty sites will have the strongest conversion rate due to the niche nature of their products, whereas software sites will have lower conversions due to the range of options on offer and lack of insight into how they differentiate themselves.

Getting to grips with conversion rates is an important step in playing the online marketing game. Through strategies such as form fields, email marketing, and user reviews, you can increase the visibility and reliability of your site and get those conversion rates up!

Oh, and we promised you a surprise, didn’t we? Well, here at Website Builder Expert we measure our conversions by the number of readers who make it to the end of our articles.

So surprise! You’ve just been converted! 

We hope you don’t feel too cheated and would be willing to check out some of our other articles on the site. We love helping users navigate the tricky online world, and hope we’ve helped you today. Happy converting!

Written by:
headshot of Sam Jagger
Being a Writer for Website Builder Expert isn’t just typing words on a laptop. Each day, I’m finding new and innovative ways to help you get online in a mode you feel comfortable with. And it’s a task I do with enthusiasm and gusto. Not only do I have experience building with all the providers we talk about - creating websites such as this Strikingly demo - but we also have our wonderful, constantly updated research fielded by our researchers, so you can be reassured that what we say is an honest reflection of our professional opinions. I’ve written articles and featured guest posts for apps like UXPin on web design in the modern age, as well as answered over 100 user comments on the site and delved into the world of choosing a domain name and adding Bitcoin payments to your site in my own pitched articles. All of this is to say that when I want to get you online - I mean it! Outside the office, I have attended the eCommerce Expo and built up a ton of industry knowledge through talks, workshops, and guided learning sessions with noted experts. The internet is made for everyone, so come online and let us help you get there.

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