New study reveals 50% of UK shoppers have abandoned baskets due to poor digital experience


One third of the UK public have not completed an online purchase in the past year due to a bad experience with a website or app, according to new research from brand strategy agency, Curious, in partnership with YouGov.

That figure jumps to 50% when looking at transactions made across a lifetime, proving functionality should be an absolute priority for brands when planning their online presence.

Meanwhile, 80% of people said it was important that a brand had a good website or app when making any kind of online purchase. However, only 40% of digital natives - that is people aged 18-24 - reported a negative online experience in the last 12 months, suggesting either they are more confident online, or brands are making more effort with the UX of sites aimed at younger generations in recognition of their enhanced expectations.

The study from Curious explores the increasing importance of digital in our lives at a time when our reliance on technology is greater than ever before. Badly designed digital platforms and those with poor functionality are putting people off and forcing them to abandon their basket or transaction, as respondents cite functionality and visual distinction as key drivers for a positive online experience. As many as 93% of the nationally representative panel of over 2,000 consumers agreed that functionality is important when using a brand’s digital platform, while visual distinction came next on the list of priorities, at 73%. Meanwhile over one in four of those polled (26%) felt a unique experience is also important. 

While ease of use remains the most important factor for consumers, the appearance of a platform itself still holds sway, with 81% of 25-34 year olds stating its significance. Appearance is also of near equal importance to men (70%) as women (76%).

After a year lived largely online - shopping, socialising and working - Curious’s survey also found only 3% fewer people aged 55+ will continue to shop online than those aged 25-34, showing brands do not need to attract older online shoppers but must understand what they want from their digital experience.

Nikki Cunningham, Managing Director of Curious, said: “In the past year, we have all developed new habits which, for the most part, will stick around. Consumers have an even higher expectation of brands’ online offering now than pre-pandemic, and they will have little patience with a bad or difficult experience going forward.”

“As well as visualising brand personality, digital touchpoints need to be functional and facilitate the audience’s needs, so it should be a matter of huge consternation for any brand to see such a stark disconnect between their offering and customer expectation. I hope our report can help businesses to direct their focus in the right place to address these challenges and ensure they are fit for the future.”

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th - 28th April 2021. The survey was carried out online.The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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