Delivery Concerns Cost UK Online Retailers £34.4bn In Lost Sales In 2023, Study Finds

By Dayeeta Das
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Delivery Concerns Cost UK Online Retailers £34.4bn In Lost Sales In 2023, Study Finds

More than a quarter of online transactions in the UK were abandoned at the checkout due to delivery-related concerns, amounting to sales loss of £34.4 billion in the past 12 months, according to new research from GFS and Retail Economics.

Abandoning baskets at checkout was most prevalent among younger, middle-aged, and more affluent consumers as these groups showed less tolerance for inflexible delivery options, the study found.

Almost two-thirds (62.5%) of 25- to 44-year-olds expect delivery choices at checkout to meet their expectations.

The trend is prevalent across non-food retail categories, with the digitally savvy under-45-year-olds, contributing significantly to the increase in abandonment rates.

People under 25 years are four times (40.6%) more likely to abandon clothing and footwear purchases than the over-65s (10.6%), data showed.


GFS group marketing director Bobbie Ttooulis stated, “Our findings expose the £34.4 billion toll of basket abandonment driven by delivery issues, prompting a call to action for retailers.

“With more than one in four purchases being abandoned, meeting consumer demand for diverse delivery options is non-negotiable – especially when it's the high-value, high-frequency 25-to-44-year-olds who are driving up abandonment rates. The imperative for retailers to adapt cannot be clearer.”

Other Findings

Declining sentiment regarding household finances has disproportionately affected upper- and middle-income groups, who are grappling with increased borrowing costs, the report noted.

More than half of people earning between £50,000 and £70,000 attribute the rise in abandonment to caution, while just over a third (37%) do so in other income brackets.


Consumers are scrutinising service value and options to align with their needs as heightened consumer expectations and financial pressures are prompting more thoughtful purchase decisions.

Almost two-thirds (64.5%) of consumers expect more from retailers' delivery services than ever before, contributing to 71% of shoppers stopping an online order because of inconvenient delivery times, and 65% because of limited choice of delivery services, according to the study.

Premium Services

Data also showed that nearly half (47%) are willing to pay extra for premium options like same-day or next-day delivery, with middle- and high-income under 45s, in particular, expressing interest in investing in convenient delivery and returns.

More than 60% are prepared to spend for enhanced shipping services, such as nominated time or express delivery that match their lifestyle and shifting priorities.


Retail Economics chief executive Richard Lim added, “Elevated borrowing costs are escalating the risk of basket abandonment, particularly among younger, middle-aged and higher-income individuals. These demographics are critical to retail spending, meaning the stakes for retailers have grown as consumer confidence hangs in the balance of a recovery in spending power to pre-pandemic levels.

“While the stakes are rising, there’s a willingness among economically significant individuals to pay for services that deliver value by matching their changing needs. Retailers must urgently realign delivery strategies to tap into better services that support profitability.”

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