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Shopping Cart Abandonment Email Trends [Infographic]


The majority of online shoppers abandon their shopping baskets. Some return on their own and convert, and some will never convert no matter what. However, some of those cart abandoners benefit from a nudge from a well-timed and smartly messaged shopping cart abandonment email.

These emails are widely regarded as being effective and generating high returns, but the multi-year joint research between Litmus and Salesforce Marketing Cloud shows that…


That’s a big missed opportunity for retailers and other ecommerce companies to increase their conversion rates by helping their customers, who may be confused about pricing or shipping, uncertain about their product choices, or may just need a reminder about the items they left in their basket.

Whether your brand has an existing shopping cart abandonment program or is planning to set one up, our research also illuminates the current trends around the timing and content of these emails, and whether you should send a series of emails.

In this infographic, we explore all of those trends in shopping cart abandonment email usage and creation from 2013 to 2016. Use this data to inform how you build out your shopping cart abandonment email program so it effectively serves your customers and generates stellar returns.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Email Trends


Shopping Cart Abandonment Email Trends

During the 2016, 2014, and 2013 holiday seasons, Litmus and Salesforce Marketing Cloud clicked through the promotional emails of more than 90 major U.S. online retailers and we filled our shopping baskets with more than $100 of merchandise. Then we walked away, closing our browser after each shopping session. Here’s what happened next…

Although cart abandonment emails are regarded as highly successful, fewer than a third of retailers send them.

Percentage of retailers sending a triggered email in response to an abandoned cart

  • 2013: 20%
  • 2014: 23%
  • 2016: 29%

Most cart abandonment emails arrive within 3 hours of abandonment, recognizing the narrow window of opportunity.

The delay between the end of the shopping session and the arrival of the cart abandonment email senders’ first message


  • Less than 24 hours: 48%
  • 24-72 hours: 48%
  • More than 72 hours: 5%


  • Less than 24 hours: 50%
  • 24-72 hours: 32%
  • More than 72 hours: 18%


  • Less than 24 hours: 67%
  • 24-72 hours: 26%
  • More than 72 hours: 7%

**The percentage of retailers sending their cart abandonment emails in under 3 hours rose from 19% in 2013 to 52% in 2016.

Most retailers send a series of messages when addressing cart abandonment.

Percentage of cart abandonment email senders sending two or more messages

  • 2013: 19%
  • 2014: 50%
  • 2016: 56%

**Among retailers sending cart abandonment emails, 30% sent a series of 3 or more in 2016, up from 10% in 2013.

Including the names and pictures of the abandoned products has become standard in cart abandonment emails.

Percentage of cart abandonment email senders that refer in their messages to the items abandoned

  • 2013: 38%
  • 2014: 68%
  • 2016: 85%

**19% of retailers include the name of at least one of the abandoned products in the subject line of their cart abandonment emails.

The majority of cart abandonment email senders recommend alternative products, in addition to the abandoned products.

Percentage of cart abandonment email senders suggesting alternative products in their messages

  • 2013: 19%
  • 2014: 41%
  • 2016: 67%

More cart abandonment email senders are adding seasonal context to their messages.

Percentage of cart abandonment email senders that include seasonal messaging in their messages

  • 2013: 5%
  • 2014: 18%
  • 2016: 26%

Most shopping carts are abandoned before checkout. Cart abandonment emails are an effective way to increase sales conversions, especially when they…

  • Are triggered quickly
  • Consist of a series of emails, when cart value justifies it
  • Remind recipients what’s in their carts
  • Suggest alternatives based on products abandoned
  • Include holiday and other seasonal messaging

If you’re an ecommerce brand that hasn’t set up a cart abandonment email program yet, make it a priority to launch a simple cart abandonment email soon. Then, over time, make the incremental improvements suggested above to boost performance.


Data based on observational research performed by Litmus in 2016 and by Salesforce Marketing Cloud in 2014 and 2013. Using anonymous email accounts, shopping carts with more than $100 in merchandise were abandoned during the week of Cyber Monday at 93 U.S. retailers in 2016; 94 in 2014; and 103 in 2013. Cyber Monday is during either the last week of November or the first week of December, depending on the year.


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