Convenience and security concerns drive Brits to abandon online purchases

New research into online spending habits in the UK, focuses on the 'basket anxiety' that leads to online purchases being abandoned by British consumers.

The study from Visa Inc., which looked at the spending habits of 1,000 UK online shoppers, reveals nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of British online shoppers have abandoned their shopping baskets on retailer websites and apps due to finding the payment process tedious or concerns over online security.

Of those who have abandoned their basket mid-purchase, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) cite concerns over sharing personal information with unfamiliar sites as a key reason. Three in five (59 per cent) also say that going through additional payment steps had prevented them from completing a purchase.

Despite these concerns, recent figures show more than £130 billion was spent on online purchases in the UK in the last 12 months – a figure that has been increasing year-on-year. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of millennials, those aged 18 to 34 years, now spend as much on websites and apps as on the high street.

Kevin Jenkins, managing director of Visa UK and Ireland, says, ‘The UK leads Europe in ecommerce sales, with mobile shopping in particular experiencing rapid growth. But, with so many consumers abandoning baskets during the buying process, there is a clear need for new, easy, secure ways to pay. Retailers who are able to address consumer concerns in relation to the security and convenience of the payments process will avoid losing out on sales. Furthermore, they will tap into the vast opportunities offered by online retail. Visa Checkout, recently launched in the UK and Ireland, addresses online shopping needs by removing the need for consumers to fill in forms with personal and payment information every time they shop online.’

Although millennials have been particularly enthusiastic adopters of online shopping and trialling different payment methods, the findings shed light on their increased tendency to abandon purchases during the shopping process. Nine out of ten millennials say they have made purchases using a mobile device, compared to a national average of just 67 per cent. However, this younger group are also ten per cent more likely to abandon a purchase; more than four in five (82 per cent) having done so.

With mobile technology providing faster and more convenient ways to pay for purchases on the go, companies offering online food delivery and streaming are particularly popular among the younger generation. Eighty-five per cent of millennials have ordered takeaway food online, while the same number have bought online home entertainment products, such as on demand streaming. By contrast, only 52 per cent of the overall population had ordered takeaway online, while 74 per cent had purchased home entertainment services.

Of those who do order takeaway food through their web browser or an app, the majority (60 per cent) will abandon their purchase if it takes longer than five minutes. Just 22 per cent of online shoppers would be willing to wait longer than ten minutes. Similarly, 55 per cent will abandon home entertainment purchases after five minutes, while more than three quarters (76 per cent) give up if the purchase takes ten minutes or more.

Jenkins continues, ‘As shoppers spend even more online, in terms of frequency and value, the balance that needs to be struck between speed and security has become even finer. Younger consumers expect a quick, hassle free payment experience, wherever and however they shop.

‘Visa Checkout is more convenient for customers but also keeps details safe and secure in one place. We are actively working with leading retailers to bring the benefit of this faster, quicker and secure way to pay to more online shoppers in the UK and Ireland.’