The State of Cookie Notice Usage in E-Commerce (2020)

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In this article, we will explain the different cookie notices you see when browsing the internet and show some e-commerce examples. We also conducted a study of the popularity of each cookie notice type.

An HTTP cookie is a small piece of code which is set by the site a user is visiting and is stored in the user’s web browser. This code collects information about the user and enables digital services to identify your browser. 

In the context of GDPR and other privacy initiatives worldwide, many e-commerce owners started to obtain the consent from their users to collect their data.

Since the use of cookies is the industry standard technology that most tracking methods utilize (as one elementary brick of the technology), implementing cookie notices has been widely adopted by websites for obtaining consent for the collection of user data. 

How many websites have cookie notices in E-commerce?

A study done at Qreuz showed that 36% of e-commerce websites had cookie notices. The websites in the research were the top 50 most-visited shopping websites, as ranked by Alexa as of May 6th, 2020. So a whopping 64% of those sites had no cookie banner or pop-up at all. 

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Cookie Notice/Consent Models

Notice Only

If a website is using a Notice Only consent model, they are not providing the user with an option of browsing their site without cookies. 

“We have placed cookies on your computer, our cookies are used to personalise content and ads. Find Out More.” 

screen shot example of notice only cookie consent type
Screenshot from UrbanOutfitters, taken on May 6th, 2020

Implied Consent

The cookies here are set upon the user’s arrival, but the user is given the opportunity to manage their preferences. The default setting of cookies in the Implied Consent model is to accept all. You need to click to opt-out rather than to opt-in. In the below images of GameStop’s cookie notice, when you click on “view cookie settings” all cookies will be already ticked. This is an example of Implied Consent. 

an example of implied consent cookie notice type
Screenshot from GameStop, taken on May 6th, 2020

Soft Opt-in

The main difference between Soft Opt-in and Implied Consent is that the cookies are blocked upon the user’s arrival for the Soft Opt-in approach. If the user interacts any further with the website, they will be “giving consent” to the use of cookies on their browser. 

The cookie notice will also give the user the opportunity to opt-out of the cookies or to “customize preferences”. 

“By continuing to use this site, you give us consent to use cookies. You may customize your cookie preferences here and access our web data privacy policy for further details.”

an example of the soft opt-in consent type
Screenshot from B&H, taken on May 6th, 2020

Explicit Consent

The user must click a box to consent to the cookies which aren’t necessary to the functioning of the site. The site will not set the non-essential cookies unless or until the user actively slicks to allow them.  

You cannot opt-out of “necessary” cookies, but you can choose to opt-in to further cookies which go beyond this. The difference between Explicit and Implied or Soft Opt-in consent is that the default cookies setting for Explicit consent is for “necessary only”. Whereas, with Implied and Soft Opt-in, the default is set to all the types of cookies can set.

example of explicit cookie consent notice type
Screenshot from Cookiebot, taken on May 6th, 2020

What type of cookie notices are the most popular?

As mentioned early, Qreuz carried out a study of the cookie notices on the 50 most-visited e-commerce sites. Of the sites we collected data from, 10% chose Implied Consent. Another 10% have Explicit Consent implemented on their sites. 8% of them use the Soft Opt-in model and 8% again use the Notice Only approach. 64% of the 50 most-visited e-commerce sites had no cookie notice at all.

graphic showing the most popular cookie consent notice types
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Final Thoughts

If you are considering one of the notices above, we recommend you look into the legalities of each consent model and of the country of your users and where your business is located. 

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