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Barclaycard reveals two minute limit for Britain’s impatient shoppers


Barclays’ and Barclaycard’s latest research reveals that far from the stereotype as a nation that loves to wait in line, two fifths of Brits refuse to queue for longer than two minutes and 68% regularly abandon purchases.

According to the poll of 2,000 shoppers*, women will queue only 12 seconds longer than men, but the biggest surprise is the willingness of younger shoppers (18-24) to wait a full two minutes longer in line than those aged 55-64.

Impatient shoppers seem hungry for change, with food or drink outlets found to have the most frustrating queues. In contrast, supermarkets are seen to be the best at managing queues. 51% of shoppers refuse to even enter a store if they spy a queue and some retailers are taking extreme measures to cope with customers’ impatience with 30% of shops shifting till positions to hide long queues**. In contrast 12% of retailers, including supermarket chain Co-operative, have begun to deploy contactless payment systems which, by doing away with the need to enter a pin code, reduce transaction times by over a third (source Smart Card Alliance).

Stuart Neal, head of UK Payment Acceptance at Barclaycard, commented:

“While retailers appear to be aware that even their most loyal customers are not prepared to wait in line any more, hiding the evidence of queues is not the way to fix the problem. Consumers have increasingly busy lives and retailers must be prepared to fit in with them by offering innovative solutions to speed up transactions. By embracing technology and installing new payments systems, such as contactless, retailers will stay ahead of the curve and limit the amount of time that people are waiting in shop queues.”

The top frustrations of queuing shoppers were not enough staff serving customers, sales assistants spending too long chatting to customers and people fumbling in their pockets for change. Half of shoppers (46%) favour stores with express lanes.

Brian Cunnington, head of Debit Cards, UK Retail Banking at Barclays said:

“The research shows that, particularly for small ticket items, consumers are no longer prepared to wait in line. They know they can go to another shop and purchase what they need more quickly. That is why many of our customers are starting to use contactless payment for goods under £15. It vastly speeds up purchases, while removing the need to fumble for the right amount of cash.”

The study shows that the lower the value of the item the more likely a shopper is to abandon a purchase if a queue is perceived to be too long.

An increasing number of retailers, such as Co-operative supermarket, Little Chef, EAT, Subway and Pret a Manger are installing contactless payment systems as a way of reducing queue times. These leading retailers have helped increase awareness of contactless and, as a result, nearly a third (29%) of consumers now recognises the contactless symbol.


Notes to editors
* Polled in June 2010 by Populus; research commissioned by Barclays and Barclaycard
** 100 retail decision makers surveyed in June in partnership with Retail Week

About Barclaycard
Barclaycard, part of Barclays Global Retail Banking division, is a leading global payment business which helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and accept payments flexibly, access short-term credit when needed and helps consumers with how to build credit.

The company is one of the pioneers of new forms of payments and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting edge forms of credit and payment for the future.  It also issues UK credit cards, reward cards, and charge cards to corporate customers and the UK Government.  Barclaycard partners with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members low APR payment options and credit.

For further information please contact:
Andrew Bond
Barclaycard Press Office
1234 Pavilion Drive
+44 (0)1604 25 1229


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