Research by Barclaycard has revealed that UK retailers are losing more than £18bn in potential sales each year as shoppers make a habit of window-shopping online.

According to the research that surveyed 2,000 consumers over the age of 18 and, on average, the abandoned basket is worth at least £30 a month.

Barclaycard payment solution head of strategy George Allardice said: “Online basket abandonment rates are a perennial problem for online retailers, but as consumers increasingly shop via retailer websites, it’s becoming ever more important that merchants are equipped to combat this challenge.

“There are many ways retailers can convert online interest into sales – whether this is reminder emails about items left in online baskets, reducing the steps required to check out online, or securely storing card details so shoppers don’t need to re-enter them every time they visit a site.”

The research found that shoppers are more likely to be indecisive when shopping online with 41% abandoning their virtual basket in the last year, compared to 24% who have walked away from a purchase in store.

The study found that 6pm to 10pm is the main time for online shopper drop-out, while December, November and January saw the highest level of online basket abandonment as shoppers browse Christmas ideas, Black Friday and January sales.

Barclaycard found that millennial shoppers (25-34 years-old) are the most indecisive shoppers, with 18-24 year-olds right behind them.

The most abandoned items online include knitwear, leather goods, lingerie and headphones.

In order to tackle basket abandonment retailers typically send automated email reminders (30%) or ‘expiry period’ emails (19%).

According to Allardice, there is a ‘knowledge gap that could be holding businesses back’ and preventing them from increasing their online sales.

The survey found that 17% of shoppers abandon online baskets because they like to ‘window shop’ with no intention to buy, while 12% put items in the online basket on hold.

Independent retail expert Clare Bailey said: “It is so important that retailers not only invest in marketing to drive footfall to their websites but also in their payment process to ensure that the online shopping experience is as seamless and hassle-free as possible.

“In the same way that consumers can lose interest in a purchase when buying in-store due to long queues, they are also put off by confusing and long check-out processes online. As such, retailers don’t want to waste their efforts in helping customers get items into the basket only to fall at the final hurdle when customers drop out because of problems at the check-out.”