Abandoned Carts: A Look into Shoppers’ Time Spent on Site

At Metrical, we use real-time shopper interaction data to predict cart abandonment before it happens. Compared to email reminders—a post-abandonment solution which requires a shopper’s email address—our solution is proactive: we engage with shoppers while they’re still on the retailer’s site.

One interesting question we’ve been investigating is how long it takes for shoppers to abandon their shopping carts after they have added the first item to their cart. This information is important because it tells retailers how much time they have to convert a visit into a purchase.

Here is how we sought out the answer: first, we collected the data for our clients from the first two months of the year to avoid holiday season bias; then, we segmented all shopping carts into two types: the initial carts created during the first visit, and the re-visited carts—carts that were created by visitors in previous sessions and returned to at a later date/time; finally, we analyzed the session duration starting at the cart creation to the point of cart abandonment.

Across our clients, we found after the first item was added to a cart, on average 3.7% left immediately, 2.3% left in the first five seconds, 12.8% left between 6 seconds to 30 seconds, 39.4% left between 30 seconds to 5 minutes, 27.9% left between 5 minutes to 30 minutes, and 13.8% left after 30 minutes (visitors may keep their tab open). We also validated something we suspected: shoppers on desktop devices stayed on websites 61.3% longer than those on mobile devices.

average session duration after cart creation

Among the re-visited carts, ones created in a previous shopping session, we found on average 30.8% left immediately (due to page reloads, session timeout, etc.), 1.6% left in the first five seconds, 11.5% left between 5 seconds to 30 seconds, 21.5% left between 30 seconds to 5 minutes, 19.6% left between 5 minutes to 30 minutes, and 14.9% left after 30 minutes (again, a lot of re-visitors left a tab open). Interestingly, for a typical session for re-visited carts, shoppers stayed on the website more than four times longer when shopping with a desktop than with a mobile device!

This information will help retailers to act quickly to engage shoppers that have created carts but are likely to abandon. Of course retailers should determine what their own site’s abandonment behavior looks like and not just act on the data in this post. There are some further questions of interest, such as: Will shoppers stay longer when they add multiple items to a cart? And, is there a correlation between how long it takes for the shoppers to add the first item to a cart and how long it takes them to abandon the cart?  

If you’re interested in finding out the answers to these questions, then stay tuned for our next analysis of shopper behavior.


Don’t let your online customer experience fall by the wayside. Metrical helps online merchants and retailers figure out how to deliver targeted messaging that improves the buying experience, converts shoppers into buyers, and be better positioned to build a loyal customer base. Interested in knowing more? Drop us a line!