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An estimated £1.02bn worth of online shopping transactions were abandoned in 2011 by UK consumers, according to Experian.

One in five of these abandoned transactions were not taken elsewhere as individuals cancelled their shopping attempt altogether, resulting in £214m worth of net lost revenue for UK retailers.

The study found that 44% of UK shoppers have abandoned at least one online shopping transaction in the last year having become frustrated with the length and complexity of certain older forms of identity verification.

According to Experian's UK Director of Identity & Fraud Nick Mothershaw: 

Older forms of identity verification – which draw on limited information or out-of-date data, cannot instantly validate as many genuine customers, and don’t provide extra assurance from interactive questioning or the checking of previous identity fraud intelligence – require organisations using them to prioritise security or customer convenience.

While there's no doubt that ineffecient and slow identity verification checks have the potential to harm conversion rates, I wonder whether other factors do more damage. 

The recent eChannel Retail Benchmark found that retailers that force users to register before making a purchase receive the lowest scores for their online checkouts.

The retailers that scored highest required a minimum amount of data entry, in fact ASOS halved its checkout abandonment rate after removing compulsory registration for customers.

Data from an Econsultancy survey of 2,000 UK consumers found that 26% of respondents abandoned a purchase after adding items to their basket due to the need to register before buying. 

However, high delivery charges (74%), high prices (49%) and technical problems (54%) all ranked higher.

Our survey asked about checkout abandonment as a separate criteria to basket abandonment.

Hidden charges (71%) were identified as the key reason for checkout abandonment, followed by concerns about payment security (58%) and technical problems or slow loading pages (44%).

Once you are in the checkout process, what would deter you from completing the purchase?

Experian’s study, which was carried out by The International Fraud Prevention Research Centre, combined insights from an Opinium Research survey of 2,028 consumers and organisations across a range of sectors to estimate the proportion of transactions that are abandoned or incorrectly rejected.

David Moth

Published 27 March, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1678 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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Jeremy Spiller

Jeremy Spiller, MD at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

it's interesting to note how many people abandon the shopping cart due to a need to register. To me the need to register is pointless.

Surely if an individual is buying something then why the need to register? All the contact data needed will be collected to complete the purchase anyway and if the purpose is promote further offers and collect data that can be done as part of the payment process, with the buyer's permission of course.

So to anyone who insists on registration note the line in this post "Data from an Econsultancy survey of 2,000 UK consumers found that 26% of respondents abandoned a purchase after adding items to their basket due to the need to register before buying."

Let's stop asking people to register to buy something now. It's so last decade anyway. You know it makes sense.

And as for hidden charges, that's not good, not good at all.

over 4 years ago


Glaf Cole

"£214m worth of net LOST revenue for UK retailers."

It's arguable that to describe the potential revenue as LOST is actually inaccurate. It was never gained to be lost.

Simply presumptive - you'll always get this attrition with 'impersonal sales processes'. Non emotive and no social pressure to be agreeable if a u-turn is attempted at the checkout.

To be expected.

over 4 years ago


Neale Gilhooley

I often feel that I need to go far too far into the purchasing process just to find out what the true & full cost of an item is.

This frustrating waste of time stops me from visiting that retailer again.

A bad experience is often remembered longer than a good one.

over 4 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

Couldnt agree with Jeremy more. The word 'register' must be abolished from all basket & checkout pages. Registration should occur as a seamless by-product of the checkout process, not presented as an up front barrier to negotiate.

over 4 years ago


Jordan McClements

Agree with Glaf.

Abandoning a shopping part is actually part of the purchase process.

I think the majority of purchasers abandon their cart, before coming back and completing the purchase? How else can you find out exactly what the final charges are and compare these with competitors?

over 4 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

Good etailers display this information or at least provide an indicative cost on their product pages Jordan. It's unfortunate that for many retailers, the final shipping cost can only be calculated once the shopper has provided their delivery address so there'll always be some bale outs due to shipping charges.

over 4 years ago


Joe Green

Concerns about security rank pretty highly amongst the reasons shopping carts are abandoned. I wonder what signs people pick up on that tell them security isn't all it might be.

over 4 years ago


Russell Hopcraft, Director at ContactPartners Ltd

I'm slightly more interested in the 80% or £816m worth of online transaction failures that apparently were "taken elsewhere". I guess there would be a fair amount of completion via other channels like phone/high street at far higher cost. Would be great to see some estimations of where/how these transactions were actually completed.

about 4 years ago

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