Mollie reveals the true extent of cart abandonment in the UK

May 19, 2022

Today, we’re living in an age of accelerated digital growth, with statistics showing that 93% of the UK population shopped for products or services online in 2021. No longer do customers have to wait for a store to open - they can shop online 24/7, with many businesses catering to this by employing round-the-clock customer service, whether that’s via chatbots or dedicated staff.

It takes a matter of clicks to build an online shopping basket - but not everything makes it through the checkout process, as new research we conducted on our UK doorstep reveals.

In fact, while 57% make an online purchase at least once a week, half of Brits have abandoned a shopping cart in the last seven days - including 14% on the day we carried out our survey of 1,000 consumers.

From the data, we did the maths to reveal how, over a period of a year, the average UK shopper will abandon six baskets, containing £68 worth of products per basket - giving a grand total of £20.6bn of goods that never make it through the checkout process.

9 in 10 shoppers will abandon a cart due to lack of payment options

Over the last six months, nine in ten shoppers admit they’ve neglected up to ten baskets due to a lack of payment options at the checkout.

The 10 most popular payment methods in the UK are as follows:

Of those that chose PayPal as one of their preferred payment methods, 38% said they would abandon their cart should this option not be available at the checkout. The same could be said for one in ten Apple Pay shoppers.

Josh Guthrie, UK country manager at Mollie, commented: “It is essential, in the age of accelerated online growth, that businesses meet their customers where they are, by providing them with a fully omnichannel experience and a variety of payment methods to suit them.

“Not everyone wants to pay via debit or credit card, or even PayPal, and when your business is international it’s even more important to take into account the preferred payment methods of each region.”

The average cost of an abandoned cart is £68

Nine in ten shoppers had up to ten items in the last cart they abandoned, with the average basket costing £68.

Aside from a lack of payment options, these are some of the most common reasons a customer neglects a purchase:

  1. Shipping costs and options - i.e. expensive or long delivery times (55%)
  2. The customer changed their mind (32%)
  3. The customer wanted to compare prices elsewhere first (29%)
  4. There were technical issues with the site (17%)
  5. The customer had to create an account (14%)
  6. The checkout process was too long/complex (13%)
  7. The customer decided to buy in store instead (12%)
  8. The customer didn’t trust the site (8%)
  9. The customer’s card declined (8%)

Digging even deeper into the data, it turns out that the majority of baskets are abandoned outside of normal working hours, with shoppers most likely to browse between 4pm and midnight. However, 28% of Brits say there is no time they’re more or less likely to press ‘X’ on a purchase.

The statistics also highlight how discovering a product on social media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest) is most likely to result in a neglected shopping basket, as opposed to baskets that have been put together as a result of direct search, or Google search.

Fashion, food and drink and health and beauty businesses are most likely to lose sales

When asked what type of items made up the majority of their last basket, one in three answered fashion. Food and drink and health and beauty items were also ditched by 12% of respondents. Home furnishings and accessories were least likely to be abandoned.

What can businesses do to encourage shoppers to come back and complete their purchases?

Well, according to 57% of consumers, a discount or sale is enough to entice them to reconsider. Almost a quarter of shoppers would also be receptive to reminders of what they were going to buy, either via advertisements or email.

One in ten Brits would be happy to revisit abandoned purchases should they read good reviews about the products that were initially in their basket, or someone they know bought/recommended the products. The ability to add products to a ‘wishlist’ on site was also seen as a bonus.

Almost half of UK shoppers have returned up to ten items over the past six months

Of course, there is more to the story. Just because a customer goes ahead with a purchase, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily keep it.

Mollie’s findings highlight how 47% of shoppers have returned up to ten individual items over the past six months. On the flip side, 43% say they have kept all of their purchases.

The main reasons people return an item are:

  1. Ordered the wrong product or size (25%)
  2. Product was damaged or defective (11%)
  3. Customer changed their mind (10%)
  4. Product did not meet the customer’s expectations (9%)
  5. Product did not match the description (7%)

And from online shopping in the last six months, 39% of consumers have up to £100 worth of items they’d like to return.

As the cost of living crisis continues to impact households across the UK it is inevitable that Brits will tighten their purse strings and cut back on online shopping. Because of this, it is more crucial than ever for ecommerce businesses to make a customers’ shopping experience as seamless as possible, reducing the risk of cart abandonment. As highlighted by our research, one of the most effective ways of doing this is by implementing an effortless payment system which provides consumers with all of their preferred payment methods. If you’d like to know how Mollie can support your business in doing this, get in touch today!

Methodology

Mollie carried out a survey of 1,000 UK consumers aged 16+ in May 2022. The full results can be viewed here.