Commitment-Shy Shoppers Double Value of Abandoned Online ‘Fantasy Baskets’ to £39.4 Billion in the Last Year

In the past 12 months, commitment-shy shoppers have abandoned items worth £39.4 billion in what are referred to as online ‘fantasy baskets’, more than doubling the figures since 2018.

A survey of 2,000 adults revealed that high delivery costs (37 percent), cyber window shopping (26 percent), and lengthy authentication processes (24 percent) are the primary reasons for leaving items in an online basket without completing the purchase.

During the pandemic, over a third (34 percent) of respondents have become increasingly reliant on online shopping, with 25 percent being more cautious about their spending habits. Additionally, having more free time and using the virtual world as a distraction from lockdown has led nearly a fifth (18 percent) of participants to abandon full online baskets.

Distractions and forgetfulness also play a role, as one in five individuals have logged off without making a purchase due to being sidetracked by other shopping or simply forgetting the contents of their online basket (18 percent).

The fashion sector has the least loyal shoppers, with 70 percent of them abandoning a fashion purchase. Similarly, entertainment (56 percent) and health and beauty (54 percent) items frequently end up in the shopping scrap heap.

However, shoppers looking for travel (seven percent) or white goods (six percent) are the least likely to create ‘fantasy baskets’ without completing a purchase.

Marc Pettican, President of Barclaycard Payments, highlighted the challenges faced by online retailers, stating, “As e-commerce has boomed during the pandemic, so too has the number of purchases abandoned at the check-out. Frustrations arising from a range of checkout hurdles, including lengthy payment authentication processes, contribute to shoppers deserting items at the last minute. Retailers can alleviate this by streamlining their payment processes, which will help combat basket abandonment, boost sales, and increase shopper satisfaction.”

According to the survey, the most common time for shoppers to abandon a purchase is at 4 pm, and the average time spent shopping online per week has increased by 30 percent during lockdown, reaching three hours and 48 minutes. On average, individuals discard 5,865 items in their baskets each year, with an average of seven items in a basket at any given time—more than double the number in 2018.

Laptop purchases are most frequently abandoned (31 percent), often due to consumers opening multiple tabs to compare prices and delivery options from different retailers. Independent retail expert Clare Bailey emphasized the importance of retailers investing in dedicated apps, offering seamless payment processing, and implementing simple authentication systems to reduce checkout dropouts.


  1. Fashion (70 percent)
  2. Entertainment (56 percent)
  3. Health & beauty (54 percent)
  4. Home furnishings (40 percent)
  5. Homewares & DIY (48 percent)
  6. Accessories (e.g., handbags, shoes, purses, wallets) (47 percent)
  7. Food & Drink (46 percent)
  8. Gadgets (44 percent)
  9. Tech (44 percent)
  10. Gifts (flowers, cards) (43 percent)
Related Posts