November 2, 2004, 12:00 AM

Consumers spend less time looking at more pages in Q3, DoubleClick reports

Online shoppers in the third quarter spent 4.4 minutes per session, 10% less than the 4.9 they spent during Q3 a year ago, but viewed 10.3 pages per visit this year compared to 7.7 a year earlier, says DoubleClick’s latest E-Commerce Site Trend Report.

Online retailers need to make sure more than ever that their web pages are simple, direct and get right to the point and that they have top-notch on-site search capabilities. That’s because the latest research from DoubleClick shows that consumers are spending less time but looking at more pages during each visit at an e-commerce site and they are increasing their use of site search.

DoubleClick found in its latest E-Commerce Site Trend Report that online shoppers during the third quarter spent 4.4 minutes per session, 10% less than the 4.9 minutes they spent during the same quarter a year earlier. But those shoppers looked at 10.3 pages per visit this year compared to only 7.7 pages in the same quarter last year.

DoubleClick also found that shoppers relied more on site search functions than ever before as 9.3% of all sales in the third quarter came through the search function compared to 6.6% of all sales a year earlier. Additionally, conversion rates and order sizes driven by those searches continues to increase as 2.1% of the searches resulted in sales this year compared to 1.5% last year and the average sales value of those conversions was $126 this year compared to $100 during the same period last year.

The news was not all good, however, as DoubleClick found that shopping cart abandonment has risen from a year ago. About 57% of consumers who put an item into a shopping cart abandoned the cart in the third quarter of this year compared to 53% a year earlier.

The situation is slightly better once consumers actually begin the checkout procedure, however, as DoubleClick found that checkout conversion after consumers begin the checkout process increased to 63% in the third quarter, up from 59% in third quarter 2003.

These conclusions led DoubleClick executives to conclude that retailers need to spend more time analyzing their conversion and abandonment results. “It’s clear that there is room for further improvement by analyzing where and why more than half of all potential customers abandon their carted products before checkout,” says Eric Kirby vice president of strategic services for DoubleClick.

The results were based on aggregate data from DoubleClick’s SiteAdvance web analytics solution used by multi-channel marketers.

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