The £6.5bn cost of the ‘shop and drop’ generation

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Nearly seven in ten 18-24 year-olds tend to ‘shop and drop’ when online, compared to only four in ten over 65s.

The average monthly value of baskets abandoned by the younger group is also more than double; £156.40 vs £63.90, meaning retailers miss out on £6.5 billion in potential sales each year, compared to £3.5bn from older shoppers.

This is despite there being more than double the number of UK adults in the 65+ bracket, according to Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.

In fact, the value of sales abandoned by Gen Z consumers is higher than any age group, despite the research showing 25-34 year-olds’ shop online more frequently (5.4 times during an average week, compared to 4.4 times for 18-24s).

Fashion items are the most likely to be left behind. When asked which items they had “shopped and dropped” at the checkout in the previous month, 40 per cent of 18-24 year-olds listed clothing. This was followed by technology products and food and drink. Fashion items were also most commonly abandoned by the over-65 (18 per cent).

This data clearly translates to lost sales too. When asked, retailers who sell fashion products reported a higher monthly average value of abandoned baskets than other categories at £92, compared to £68 for food and groceries; meaning retailers may need to consider stronger re-engagement strategies to boost sales among all shoppers, and for clothing especially.

it’s the unpredictable behaviour of younger shoppers most likely to have the biggest impact on the bottom line

The reason shoppers leave items differs between age-groups. Generation Z seem to enjoy virtual window shopping the most, perhaps browsing various store websites in a similar way as they would on the high street, with 26 per cent leaving items in baskets with plans to return at a later date.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Yet lengthy authentication processes are also off-putting for three in 10 Gen Z shoppers, who will turn away if it takes too long to pay.

For those over 65, it was high delivery costs, followed by intentions to return later and too many steps in the checkout process.

Marc Pettican, President of Barclaycard Payments, said: “It’s vital online retailers understand and cater to the preferences of all their customers, but it’s the unpredictable behaviour of younger shoppers most likely to have the biggest impact on the bottom line. Our research shows this group tend to be less patient, less loyal and more likely to drop out at the point-of-purchase than their older counterparts.

“More broadly, with online shopping continuing to grow and the deadline for full SCA compliance looming, retailers need to remove as much friction as possible from the checkout process. Products such as Barclaycard Transact can help to speed up customer verification and reduce the sales merchants miss out on through abandoned baskets.”

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024