Transparent Growth Measurement (NPS)

Understanding The Average Customer Acquisition Cost by Industry

Contributors: Amol Ghemud
Published: February 14, 2023


We dive deep into the concept of Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) across various industries, emphasizing its importance in evaluating marketing strategies’ efficiency. It presents average CAC figures for industries such as travel, retail, and technology, illustrating the vast differences in marketing costs. Highlighting the relationship between CAC and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), it underscores the significance of balancing acquisition costs with long-term customer value. Strategies for calculating and optimizing CAC are also discussed, offering insights into efficient customer acquisition and retention.

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Customer acquisition rate measures how fast your efforts turn strangers into paying customers. It tracks growth potential and helps ensure you’re not just churning money without gaining traction. Online businesses are aware that there are several e-commerce indicators that they must be aware of to expand their businesses. However, one statistic and expenditure stands out above all others. That is the average customer acquisition cost!

Businesses may evaluate how their various marketing types work for them by understanding the average customer acquisition cost in India. They may assess their spending about their revenues and identify potential hazards and issues.

Calculating your client acquisition cost helps you understand where your money is going and shows you how much profit margin you need to earn to be profitable.

Why is CAC important?

Knowing the average customer acquisition cost of e-commerce or any other sector is important since these prices may make or break your company. Furthermore, once you have a customer, you must strive to keep them. You would have wasted your money anyway.

According to data, acquiring a new client is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. However, client acquisition is important if a company is just getting started. As a result, you must be mindful of the expenditures so that you do not overspend.

Furthermore, client acquisition is a continuous activity. No company ever stops pursuing new customers. They may, however, shift their attention away from acquisition and towards retention to create more sales from their present and loyal clients.

How to calculate customer acquisition cost

There are several answers on how to calculate customer acquisition cost, so you need to know which method works best for your business.

The standard customer acquisition cost formula

CAC = Marketing and sales expenses / Number of new customers

This is the usual client acquisition cost formula used by most companies. To calculate CAC, divide marketing and sales expenditures invested for a certain period (for example, a month, quarter, or year) by the total number of new customers acquired during that time period.

Average e-commerce customer acquisition cost

You will undoubtedly need to invest in client acquisition if your e-commerce shop is just getting started. However, as you fight to keep clients, you should eventually be able to lower the average cost of acquiring a new customer for your e-commerce business.

In e-commerce, acquiring customers frequently entails utilizing various digital marketing techniques or platforms. These may include paid search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO).

E-commerce automation solutions, especially marketing automation, which aids business owners or marketing managers in accelerating their marketing process, are used in several of these marketing strategies.

Average customer acquisition cost by industry

It is only reasonable that this number varies from industry to industry because various items may have different average CACs. Below is a list of average cost per acquisition by industry.

The average cost per new client, broken down by industry, is as follows:

  • Travel: $7
  • Retail: $10
  • Consumer Goods: $22
  • Manufacturing: $83
  • Transportation: $98
  • Marketing Agency: $141
  • Financial: $175
  • Technology (Hardware): $182
  • Real Estate: $213
  • Banking/Insurance: $303
  • Telecom: $315
  • Technology (Software): $395

What is an effective average customer acquisition cost?

A good Customer Acquisition Cost varies by the industry and tactics used. However, comparing your CAC to Customer Lifetime Value is a smart approach to assess it (also known as LTV). LTV evaluates how much money a client is projected to deliver to your business throughout their engagement with you. What is an appropriate CAC ratio? The ideal LTV to CAC ratio is believed to be 3:1.


It takes time to acquire new clients. Customer acquisition is your first step if you’re just starting. The second factor is retention.

Even as you progressively retain clients, you’ll be hunting for new ones, whether for new goods you’re offering or to extend your customer base. Simultaneously, calculating the average client acquisition cost in your e-commerce firm can ensure that your business is moving ahead rather than backward.

CAC is more than just acquiring many customers at the lowest possible cost. It is all about attracting consumers who will have the longest – or at least a very prolonged – connection with your company.

You’ll want to study customer behavior, segment those customers, retain them, and use various e-commerce indicators to guarantee you’re on the right road if you want to boost your chances of increased profitability. Understanding consumer behavior includes knowing where clients are on various social media channels and in the purchasing cycle.


1. How much should my customer acquisition cost be?

It is natural to ask what is a good customer acquisition cost? Typically, businesses will compare their customer acquisition cost to their customer lifetime value. A CAC: LTV ratio of 1:3 is typically regarded as a decent ratio; however, it varies widely depending on the company.

2. What is customer acquisition cost in India?

CAC refers to the resources and expenses spent to acquire a new client. Customer acquisition cost is a critical business measure that is frequently used in conjunction with the customer lifetime value (LTV) metric to assess the value produced by a new customer.

3. What is customer acquisition cost Telecom industry?

Customer acquisition costs average $350USD in the telecom industry. Relative to other industries, this is high, on the higher end, or among the highest.

Here’s why:

  • Based on the information in the blog post, the average customer acquisition cost across industries is around $100-$200.
  • $350 significantly exceeds this average, indicating that acquiring new customers in telecom is more expensive than in most other sectors.
  • Industries like travel ($7), retail ($10), and consumer goods ($22) have much lower average CACs.
  • Even within the tech sector, which tends to have higher CACs due to longer sales cycles and complex products, hardware ($182) and software ($395) have costs lower or closer to the telecom industry average.

Therefore, while $350 isn’t an astronomically high CAC, it’s certainly higher than the norm and suggests that telecom companies face unique challenges and need to invest heavily in attracting new customers.

4. What is the average customer acquisition cost by industry?

Average customer acquisition cost by industry: Varies, but generally in the range of $100-$200USD. Some examples:

  • Travel: $7
  • Retail: $10
  • Consumer Goods: $22
  • Manufacturing: $83
  • Transportation: $98
  • Marketing Agency: $141
  • Financial: $175
  • Technology (Hardware): $182

5. What is a high customer acquisition cost?

Any cost significantly exceeding the average for its industry, like telecom’s $350 compared to $100-$200.

6. What is customer acquisition cost with example?

CAC = Marketing & Sales expenses / New customers acquired. Example: If a company spends $10,000 on marketing and acquires 50 new customers, their CAC is $200 per customer.

7. What is an example of acquisition cost?

Any expense incurred to bring in a new customer, including:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Sales commissions
  • Referral fees
  • Free trials or discounts

8. Why is understanding the average Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) crucial for startups, particularly those operating under a subscription business model like SaaS ventures, and how does it impact their financial strategies and investor relations?

Understanding the average Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) by industry requires a multifaceted approach, incorporating mathematics, budgeting, and forecasting. For a startup company, especially one operating under a subscription business model like many Software as a Service (SaaS) ventures, CAC becomes a critical performance indicator.

This metric helps investors and venture capital firms assess the scalability and valuation (finance) of a business model. It involves calculating the investment in marketing channels and advertising efforts aimed at the target audience and measuring the return on marketing investment. In industries such as online shopping, where visibility and customer relationship management play pivotal roles, benchmarking CAC against industry standards can signal how well a company is managing its revenue.

Additionally, understanding CAC in terms of the Indian rupee or any specific currency aids in evaluating the economic sustainability of market strategies. Discounting practices and return on investment are essential for ensuring sustainable development within tight financial controls. Ultimately, CAC provides a crucial insight into how effectively a company converts its marketing expenditure into profitable customer relationships.

Read More:

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Beyond the Product: Understanding the Emotional Drivers of Indian Consumers in D2C Branding

The Psychology of Indian Consumers: Secrets Behind D2C Product Choices

The Digital Shopper’s Journey: Navigating the E-Commerce Landscape for D2C Products

About the Author

amol ghemud
Optimizer in Chief

Amol has helped catalyse business growth with his strategic & data-driven methodologies. With a decade of experience in the field of marketing, he has donned multiple hats, from channel optimization, data analytics and creative brand positioning to growth engineering and sales.

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