Ecommerce Benchmarks for 2021

Written by Emily Peck on Nov 24, 2020

Overview of our 2021 eCommerce Benchmark Report

  • Results of our eCommerce Benchmark Report which analyzes the world’s 2,000 largest eCommerce companies 
  • Findings reveal how the top eCommerce companies deliver against customer service KPIs: availability, responsiveness, resolution time, and measuring customer satisfaction (CSAT) 
  • Analysis of how users of Zendesk users perform against users of other agent desk platforms

We’re excited to announce the launch of our eCommerce Benchmark Report. While it’s not uncommon to see a company on this list with an eCommerce chatbot – a nice start to address customer needs – this research will evaluate the top brands on a different support channel. In our report, we dig deep into the email customer support of the world’s biggest eCommerce companies. As the eCommerce industry becomes more competitive, prioritizing the retail customer service experience is now required to build and grow a business. Our study revealed that eCommerce companies need to greatly imprcustomove their email support experience, providing quicker responses with higher-quality answers and empowering their human agents to be empathic.

Key Findings of the eCommerce Benchmark Report

  • Only 59% of eCommerce companies have an easily accessible email address.
  • Of the eCommerce brands that have an email address, a staggering 30% ignore emails.
  • The average score for the Support Performance Index (SPI), which measures personalization, empathy, answer quality and responsiveness, is 56.2 / 100 
  • The average score on the Answer Quality Index (AQI), which measures the usefulness and meaningfulness of a response, is only 44.2 / 100.
  • 1 in 2 companies respond to customer inquiries in the first 6 hours 
  • 88% of eCommerce companies personalize responses.
  • 3 in 4 companies do not show any compassion to a customer in need.
  • eCommerce companies in APAC provide the best customer service, resolving tickets almost 1.5X as compared to eCommerce companies in EMEA
  • When it comes to the quality and thoroughness of an answer, Zendesk users scored 53.3 on the AQI, almost 30% higher than other users of other agent desk platforms.
  • In SPI and AQI, Luxury Goods outperform companies while Consumer Electronics companies trail the rest.

Email is not often an option, and often turns into a black hole 

While email remains a preferred channel for customer support to ask for a return, update a delivery address or ask a question about a product, a whopping 41% of global eCommerce companies do not offer email support.

Looking to maximize your CX? Discover what platform may be best for you in our comparison of Intercom vs. Zendesk.

Email inbox or black hole? 

Only 69% of eCommerce companies respond to a generic question about a return policy, meaning 31% of companies ignore emails altogether. Our research also exposed inconsistencies with response rates depending on whether a question was straightforward or contained a special request. While 46% of companies responded to both straightforward questions and special requests, nearly 1 in 5 (17%) only respond to standard questions. Interestingly, 6% of eCommerce companies only responded to special requests. This could signal that agents at these companies focus their time on complex and unique scenarios in the hope that customers will seek out self-serve support for simple, everyday requests.

How eCommerce Companies Measure up on the Support Performance Index (SPI)

 Our Support Performance Index (SPI) holistically compares a response against many key metrics. Overall, the SPI is 56.2 with a 23% scoring in the 70-85 range. Global action sports brand DC Shoes scored at the top of the chart, with an impressive SPI of 104.9, almost 5 points above the 100-point benchmark. The company excelled at all of the key factors, including an average response time of 20 minutes.

1 in 2 eCommerce retailers respond within 6 hours

Global eCommerce companies appreciate the need for speed: more than half of companies respond within 6 hours, and 75% of companies respond within 24 hours. The average response time for global eCommerce companies is 17.3 hours.

Zendesk users provide the best support 

More than all of the other agent desk platforms combined, eCommerce companies that use Zendesk perform higher on the SPI. Zendesk users scored 64.8 points on the SPI, compared to 53.5 for users of other agent desk platforms.


These eCommerce benchmarks highlight the daily deficit between customer expectations and reality. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one tool that e-commerce brands can use to help lessen the gap during these regular times. The importance of AI is heightened on Black Friday and Cyber Monday when brands must handle a surge in business. In either case, companies have a lot of work to do when it comes to providing support on the most preferred digital channel: email.

Learn more about the state of eCommerce email support by getting your copy of our Customer Service Benchmark Report here.