Study Reveals Why 96% Of Shoppers Leave Stores Empty-Handed

With as many as 96% of global shoppers having left a store without making a purchase on at least one occasion, it’s up to retailers to understand exactly what prevents consumers from buying. It’s not simply that these shoppers couldn’t find the products they sought, though that is a key reason. The 2018 Global Path to Purchase Survey recommends that retailers organize the store shelves and diversify their merchandise if they want to prevent consumers from leaving empty-handed.

Shoppers leave stores without buying for a number of reasons, including:

  • They couldn’t find the product they needed (67.3%);
  • The store didn’t have the items they wanted (66.3%);
  • Lines were too long (51.3%); and
  • Poor customer service (39.1%).

Shoppers Prefer Self-Service Kiosks, Mobile-Armed Associates In-Store

Consumers continue to demand self-service as part of the store experience — 62.2% of global shoppers use self-service kiosks, primarily to avoid lines and save time. But they also want sales associates to be equipped with the best technology, with 52.8% seeking out sales associates that carry tablets. These shoppers want store associates to use tablets for:


  • Faster service (24);
  • Looking up product information (23.6%); and
  • Checking inventory availability (23.2%).

While 60.1% of consumers use their own mobile devices within the store, 43% say they’ve never received an offer sent directly to those devices. This figure jumps to 48.8% in the U.S.

More than half (54%) of global consumers shop with retailers that deliver offers in-store via smartphone because they want offers the moment they are shopping, while 38% shop because they can receive personalized services upon walking into the stores.

Even when these mobile strategies are used, shoppers are more than likely to make purchases online after browsing within a store. As many as 83.8% of shoppers showroom, with 51.2% wanting to see the items in person before deciding what to purchase. Additional reasons for showrooming include:

  • Researching the best price/taking advantage of online deals (36%);
  • Convenience (29.5%); and
  • The enjoyment of shopping at a physical store (27.4%).

Retailers must ensure they provide shoppers with the information and experiences necessary to make decisions, regardless of where the final purchase takes place.

Digital Shopping Carts Top Emerging Technologies

Retailers can cater to shoppers with emerging technologies such as AR/VR and voice shopping, but consumer adoption is still relatively low. Up to 32.9% of respondents want to automatically pay at checkout using a digital shopping cart within an app or a handheld device, the highest-ranked technology in the study. Shoppers also are interested in using:

  • Interactive fitting rooms (24.9%);
  • Biometric ID and payment (19.8%);
  • VR/AR/Interactive signage (19.7%);
  • Voice-activated shopping (16.7%); and
  • In-store robots (15.6%).

There’s still a significant portion of shoppers that don’t show much interest in emerging in-store technologies. As many as 36.1% of global consumers said they didn’t want to use new technologies when they shop, with this number jumping to 46% for U.S. shoppers and 56.4% for UK shoppers.

The 2018 Global Path to Purchase Survey examined how consumers from nine different countries make retail-related purchase decisions. iVend Retail conducted the online survey from Dec. 18-21, 2017, with 250 respondents each from Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the UK and the U.S.

Featured Event

Join the retail community as we come together for three days of strategic sessions, meaningful off-site networking events and interactive learning experiences.



Access The Media Kit


Access Our Editorial Calendar

If you are downloading this on behalf of a client, please provide the company name and website information below: