23 Unbelievable Form Abandonment Statistics for 2021

Form abandonment is no longer a mystery but still a hard row to hoe.

While eCommerce businesses wrestle with cart drop-off issues, form abandonment can be a real can of worms to any type of organization.

When someone abandons your form, a business could lose a sales lead, and a nonprofit could miss a chance for a potential donation.

In this case study, we will highlight 23 unbelievable form abandonment statistics. This aims to give you a clear picture of the reason why people drop off forms. Plus, actionable tips to decrease the form abandonment rate are also brought to the table.

But first, let us give you a full account of the close-knit relationship among web forms, the Internet, and eCommerce via the evolution of web forms.

The Evolution of Web Forms

Forms have been existing here since the birth of the internet.

In parallel with the development of the internet, they have evolved a lot since then. The evolution of online forms has assigned a new role to the internet as a business and commerce source.

Without web forms, there would be no online transaction, user account, or even search engines. In addition to that, there could be no sorts of marketing strategies or technologies like we interact with nowadays.

To understand how they’ve evolved over the years, we’ll walk you through the overall history of web forms as below.

1991 - 1998: The Early Days of WWW

In 1991, the first website was launched by Tim Berners-Lee. Two years later, the first HTML web forms were brought to life. In particular, Aliweb was regarded as the first proper web for search engines.

However, it was until 1995 that the age of web forms has officially begun. In general, the web forms at that time mainly performed search and submission tasks. The interface was simple and dull, HTML-based with no CSS.
Yahoo very first forms

The main reason lied in the fact that people had to pay money for each byte used. This resulted in a super slow connection. Therefore, the more you styled your websites, the more unusable they became.

1994 - Until now: Web Forms Used in Online Sales

1994 marked a memorable year for online forms and business. For the first time, online forms were used for e-banking and online order. However, online payments were still a star to reach at that time.

Take Pizza Hut as an example. Pizza Hut started to accept online pizza orders in the US in 1994. However, clients had to provide their phone numbers. Pizza Hut would call them back to take a credit card payment via the phone.
Pizza Hut's very first online pizza order forms

Shortly after, Amazon introduced its online shopping service in 1995 and eBay the next year. While most payments of Amazon stuff were conducted using credit cards over the phone, people would use cheques or hand over cash while buying eBay items.

We can see that the lack of credit card usage in supporting online transactions did hinder the development of eCommerce in those days.

Not until 1999 was this problem resolved thanks to the birth of PayPal, which was the trailblazer for digital payment. Not only did PayPal normalize the concept of online payment, but it also unveiled the eCommerce stage to the world.

Web forms could then exhibit products for sale and then direct submitters right to the payment gateway where they could complete the transaction.

All in all, web forms in this era did take a huge leap for the internet. They were able to showcase products for sales and then redirect customers to the payment gateway for the transaction completed.

2004 - Present: Web Forms in the Social Media Era

The rise of social media took web forms to the next stage. The very first modern social network called MySpace was launched in 2003 and quickly gained over million users in just over a half year. This foresaw a new essential role of online forms as the interface for new users to create personal accounts.

Flickr, Reddit, or Twitter were some big names that set their footprints in the social media platform. Among them, the birth of Facebook in 2004 and its innovations on UX were listed among the most interesting evolutions.

In the beginning, Facebook possessed a very simple form, whose color and style blended with its standard bluish theme. And it posed no surprise that the forms had several security issues.

Later, Facebook released the free Developers API in 2006 and the first form management apps in 2010. This enabled users to create signup forms for fan pages, grow email lists, and even reuse personalized forms from other sources.

Since then, Facebook forms and surveys have stayed among the most favored tools for social media marketing.

Facebook's very first signup form

Facebook's survey and poll form innovation

Online Forms and Other Milestones

  • In 1994 - The SSL protocol for data encryption was released by Netscape.
  • In November 1999 - One famous hijack of a web form occurred.
  • By 2000 - CAPTCHA and password protection to block spam started to be available.
  • By 2005 - Numerous form builders joined the market, allowing website owners to create online forms without touching a bit of code.
  • In 2007 - The first WYSIWYG form builders made their way in.
  • Since 2008 - Developers made use of HTML5 to add new features and input types.
  • By 2010 -  AJAX form submission was catching on.
  • In 2012- Responsive design started catching on. This gave a helping hand in optimizing forms for multiple devices.
  • In 2013 - The emergence of multi-step forms.

Form Abandonment Statistics

Form abandonment happens when someone fills in your online form but leaves your site without having it submitted.

Forms prove a reliable means letting you stay in touch with your users. In terms of business, web forms help grow email lists and convert leads to customers. They play a critical component in racking up the conversion rate.

However, not all the time forms convert the way you want them to. Following are the juiciest form abandonment statistics that we have sifted through different reliable sources. They will give you a detailed insight into the reasons why your forms are not performing well.

  • About 16.5% out of 49% of people filling out the form completed it.
  • 81% of users have abandoned an online form after beginning to fill it out.
  • Lengthy forms have caused over 27% of users to abandon their online forms.
  • Security concern proves one of the top reasons deterring 29% of people from completing online forms.
  • According to WPForms, “more than 67% of site visitors will abandon your forms forever if they encounter any complications.”
  • 13% of people choose not to fill out an online form since they prefer paper copies. (WPForms)
  • As to SHRM, 60% of job hunters will abandon your online application forms if they are too long or complicated.
  • On the flip side, 50% of candidates agreed that the lengthy application forms prove useful in weeding out those who didn’t complete them.
  • The average global cart abandonment rate was 76.9% in 2018. (SaleCycle)
  • The travel sites have the highest form abandonment rates with 81.1%, next are non-profit and finance industry with respectively 77.9% and 75.7%. The lowest form drop-off rate lies in the fashion retailers with 73.5%.  (SaleCycle)
  •  Forms with dropdown form fields have the highest form abandonment rates.
  • Asking for a phone number lowers form conversion rates by 5%, followed by street address (4%), a person’s age (3%), and city and state (2%).
  • 37% of people will abandon a form asking for their phone number. Meanwhile, making that field is optional will lead to nearly double completions. (WPForms)
  • More than 3% of visitors will abandon your online forms if you use the word “Submit.”
  • Baymard Institute pointed out the top three reasons for cart abandonment include unexpected costs (shipping, taxes, fees), required account creation, complicated checkout process.
  • 24% of clients refuse to fill out checkout forms if there is a requirement on creating a user account. (Baymard Institute)
  • No trust badges on the checkout page will result in 12% of shoppers will abandon a form.
  •  Improving checkout design can reduce form abandonment by as much as 35%, which equals nearly $260 billion in recovered orders. (Baymard Institute)
  • 30% of people will return to complete a form if it offers a free tool or an incentive.
  •  84% of users prefer filling forms on desktop or laptop while 3% would like to complete forms on mobile devices.
  • Another 19% return to complete an online form if the company initiates additional contact through an email or phone call.
  • Millennials (aged 25-34) are the most indecisive online shoppers, followed by 18-24 year-olds.
  •  39% of retailers reveal that women are more likely to abandon their online shopping baskets, while 19% agree with men.

How to Avoid Form Abandonment?

The statistics above have showcased the core reasons driving form drop-off rates. What can be done to avoid abandoned baskets as well as maximize form completion will be presented below.

Keep Forms Short by Avoiding Unnecessary Questions

Long, cluttered forms make users feel tiresome and easily bail out of your forms. Users usually skim your forms first. They will bounce off your pages as soon as they find your forms too long.

Therefore, it’s important to minimize the number of form fields by focusing on the most crucial questions and ditching the rest. In addition to that, short forms deliver the sense of “free and easy,” resulting in fast form completion.

Take Expedia and Imagescape as living examples. By adding an extra question about the company name caused Expedia to lose $12 million a year. Meanwhile, Imagescape gained a 120% conversion increase by cutting the number of form fields from 11 to 4.

Taking your questions into serious consideration, whether they’re necessary and user-friendly or not. Thinking about breaking your forms into multi-step ones and with a progress bar in case you do need a lot of user data. The progress bar provides a great reassurance that there’s not much form-filling left to do.

Avoid “Halt” Words

Simply put, halt words refer to some phrases or words that deter users from taking action and reconsider their decisions. Applying to forms, halt words drive visitors away from completing your forms, leading to a high rate of form abandonment.

As such, avoid using those words in your forms, especially in the privacy policy and near the CTA buttons. Words like “Spam” or “Submit” are typical “conversion killers.” They can leave a negative and dull connotation in visitor’s minds and accordingly discourage conversion.

Include Visual Cues and Social Proof

Humans are undoubtedly visual beings. Our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. As a result, including imagery with your forms aid form completion.

This idea comes in handy if you offer order or request forms. Mercedes made use of this pro tip in their test drive request forms. Different car images are displayed, which allows drivers to choose their preferred options.
Mercedes' test drive-request-form

What’s more, to build trust and comfort indecisive users to complete your forms, you need to include strong social proof.

Social proof helps humanize your marketing. Similar to word of mouth, numbers serve as a powerful means to stimulate visitors to finish your forms. Plus, publishing how many users have subscribed to your forms will build site authority.
Social proof in form reduces form abandonment

Use Inline Validation

Inline validation supports checking and notifying errors in real-time. It saves users a huge amount of time from checking the accuracy of input back and forth.

However, inline validation can be a double-edged sword. You must know when you should and should not use it as misusing inline validation can partly contribute to form abandonment.

Inline validation is best suited for:

  • Validating if an email address is valid, or has previously been registered for your site.
  • Marking a field required but has been skipped many times.
  • Informing users about a specific data format whenever they mistakenly input in different formats.
  • Correcting spelling errors in email addresses.
  • Checking consistency of numerous answers.
    inline validation in Twitter's form fields

Asides from that, you also need to pay special attention to optimize form design and analyze your forms. Considering form analytics carries significant weight in measuring form performance and user interaction with your forms, we recommend you utilizing form analytics tools to track form abandonment rate.

Recover Dead Leads Now!

This case study has walked you through the evolution of web forms and the alarming figures about form abandonment in every aspect.

Abandoned forms equal missed opportunities for business growth.

To decrease form abandonment, you need to optimize your form design, including minimizing the form fields, using visual cues, social proof, and inline validation. Besides, remember to avoid halt words and track your form abandonment rate to get detailed insight into your form performance.

If you have any other interesting form abandonment statistics or tips to add, don’t hesitate to let us know by leaving a comment below!

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