Gone in 6 minutes: average queuing time UK shoppers are willing to wait

The average time across the UK for shoppers to wait in a queue until they ‘abandon basket’ is 5 minutes 54 seconds.

Amongst major towns and cities in the UK, the least patient is Plymouth, with locals only willing to wait an average of 4 minutes 55 seconds before leaving the store. Liverpool is the most patient city in the UK with shoppers willing to wait 6 minutes 47 seconds. Londoners are the fourth most impatient, only willing to wait 5 minutes 44 seconds.

Only 19% of people said that they would never abandon their basket regardless of how long they’d been waiting in a queue. On the flip side, 16% refuse to wait more than three minutes before walking out.

On average younger people queue for longer periods of time than older people, with shoppers aged 16-24 willing to wait for up to 6 minutes 9 seconds, whilst shoppers aged 55+ are only prepared to wait for 5 minutes 46 seconds. However, despite the younger generation being more willing to wait longer, they are the most likely group to be badly affected by a queuing experience with 59% saying they wouldn’t return to a store as a result.

Commenting on the research, Mark Rackley, Chartered Psychologist commented: “These findings reflect a concept known as Heuristics, which is decision making based on past experience. When it comes to queuing, people use previous experiences to decide whether they will stay in the queue or leave it. In today’s society when people can buy things within a matter of a few clicks or swipes, without having to wait, they may use a Heuristic and conclude that queuing is inconvenient and thus choose to walk-away. Based on this behaviour and as people increasingly experience instantaneous payment, queuing tolerance levels are likely to continue to decrease.”

“Queuing is a pet hate of many people in the UK and our research revealed the detrimental impact it has on retailers, both in terms of abandoned baskets and long term loyalty,” said Bill Henry, CEO at Omnico. “Retailers who focus on preventing abandoned baskets and customer walk-aways will see the compelling benefits to their bottom line.”

Mobile queue management technologies are being used by leading retailers, from Kiddicare to T-Mobile and from Tourneau to Fleet Feet, to increase the number of customers with the patience to wait. The results: 12% to 20% more sales by reducing abandonment.

Below is the full list of the top 20 UK cities and the average times that locals are willing to queue for before leaving the store.

CityAverage Queue time before walkout
Plymouth4 minutes 55 seconds
Belfast4 minutes 56 seconds
Leeds5 minutes 15 seconds
London5 minutes 44 seconds
Newcastle5 minutes 47 seconds
Manchester5 minutes 48 seconds
Bristol5 minutes 51 seconds
Nottingham5 minutes 59 seconds
Birmingham6 minutes 2 seconds
Norwich6 minutes 3 seconds
Edinburgh6 minutes 6 seconds
Sheffield6 minutes 13 seconds
Glasgow6 minutes 21 seconds
Southampton6 minutes 25 seconds
Brighton6 minutes 26 seconds
Cardiff6 minutes 32 seconds
Liverpool6 minutes 47 seconds

Source: IT News Online