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The determinants of consumers’ online shopping cart abandonment


Despite placing items in virtual shopping carts, online shoppers frequently abandon them —an issue that perplexes online retailers and has yet to be explained by scholars. Here, we identify key drivers to online cart abandonment and suggest cognitive and behavioral reasons for this non-buyer behavior. We show that the factors influencing consumer online search, consideration, and evaluation play a larger role in cart abandonment than factors at the purchase decision stage. In particular, many customers use online carts for entertainment or as a shopping research and organizational tool, which may induce them to buy at a later session or via another channel. Our framework extends theories of online buyer and non-buyer behavior while revealing new inhibitors to buying in the Internet era. The findings offer scholars a broad explanation of consumer motivations for cart abandonment. For retailers, the authors provide suggestions to improve purchase conversion rates and multi-channel management.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. ρ = .43, p < .01

  2. ρ = −.13,  < .05


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The authors sincerely thank Heather Reineke for her help with the pilot studies, as well as the four reviewers, Michael Mejza, Bill Messier, Kent Monroe, Patricia Norberg, Koen Pauwels, David Stewart, Matt Thatcher, Richard Watson, and George Zinkhan for their peer reviews and thoughtful suggestions.

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Correspondence to Angeline G. Close.

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The authors contributed equally.

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Kukar-Kinney, M., Close, A.G. The determinants of consumers’ online shopping cart abandonment. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 38, 240–250 (2010).

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  • Online shopping cart abandonment
  • Online buyer behavior theory
  • E-tail
  • E-commerce