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High delivery costs cause Europe’s shoppers to abandon purchases


Eight out of 10 online shoppers across Europe have abandoned a cart at least once in the last six months, with high delivery costs cited as one of the chief causes.

This was one of the findings of research carried out on behalf of cross-border ecommerce firm B2C Europe, into the opinions of more than 2,000 people across Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.

The research found that 79% of consumers abandoned an online purchase at least once within the last six months, with 39% of consumers abandoning a shopping basket at least once a month. Although some online retailers have strategies in place to win back customers, the research reveals that only 3% of consumers would always return to complete the purchase.

The reasons given were as follows:

  • 40% of respondents stated that the cost of delivery was too high.
  • 33% of respondents stated they simply wanted to compare prices and get a feel of the total price.
  • 20% of respondents stated that their preferred payment method wasn’t available
  • Other logistical reasons such as long delivery times (15%) and lack of information about returns (11%) were also major reasons as to why consumers abandon their shopping basket.

The research was commissioned to understand consumers’ shopping habits online across eight major European markets, and in particular why someone would abandon their online shopping basket, and its findings are in broad alignment with research published by eBay Enterprise in September.

Cross-border ecommerce is one of the European Commission’s main focus areas, as outlined in its Digital Single Market, as reported by eDelivery in May of this year. The Commission believes an additional €300bn of pan-Europe GDP is waiting to be unlocked, as currently, only around 15% of online shoppers in the EU buy something from another country, according to Commission figures, while only 7% of small and medium-sized businesses sell across national borders.

eDelivery believes the Commission may be considering plans to force carriers to offer unified pricing for cross-border delivery to jump-start the reforms it wants to push through.

Commenting on the findings of the research, Rianne Klein Geltink, sales and marketing director of B2C Europe said: “Most e-tailers will have customers who abandon purchases, but many do not pay enough attention to the reasons why. We not only want to show businesses the number of sales they may be losing, but also to help organisations to develop and change strategies to better accommodate the needs of the consumer. It’s not enough to focus purely on the number of sales when analysing the success of the business; you need to take into account the true cost of lost sales. When you have large volumes of purchases going through your website the abandonment rates may seem insignificant, but it’s important to remember that you could be able to achieve an additional 30% in sales and revenue for the business.”

The research findings, from both B2C Europe and eBay Enterprise, add weight to calls from the European Commission for the industry to make cross-border delivery less costly; if a significant proportion of that predicted €300bn can be released through lower shipping fees, there is a clear incentive to reduce costs for would-be cross-border shoppers.

Photo © European Union 2015

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