How long does the average Brit last in a shop queue?

Even a nation of queuers has its limits, says Lightspeed research into the quirks of the Great British queue culture.

Research from point of sale provider for independent businesses, Lightspeed, today reveals that 6 minutes and 46 seconds is the exact moment Brits will quit a queue, proving there is a limit to our willingness to wait in line.

Lightspeed uncovers the findings as part of its 2018 Consumer Trends Survey which crowned East Midlands as the most patient shoppers, waiting up to 7 minutes and 12 seconds in queue, and the Welsh as the least patient lasting only 6 minutes and 6 seconds before turning away.

The top five most patient shoppers by region were:

  • East Midlands (7 min 12 sec)
  • North East (7 min 3 sec)
  • Scotland (6 min 57 sec)
  • West Midlands (6 min 54 sec)
  • London (6 min 51 sec)

While the top five least patient shoppers by region were:

  • Wales (6 min 6 sec)
  • North West (6 min 27 sec)
  • Yorkshire and the Humber (6 min 30 sec)
  • South East (6 min 43 sec)
  • East Anglia (6 min 44 sec)

Despite Brits’ renowned queue etiquette, it’s not something we want to do when we’re ready to spend money. Two thirds of shoppers (69 per cent) have decided not to buy an item because of the size of the queue in-store, highlighting the importance of e-commerce for retailers of all sizes.

When it comes to online shopping, retailers should keep returns policies top of mind with nine in ten shoppers saying it’s important and affects their purchasing decision. While two thirds (68 per cent) said they buy more when an online store has a good returns policy.

Lightspeed founder and CEO Dax Dasilva explains, ‘We are living in an on-demand economy which means shopper attention spans are becoming shorter. As independent retailers face tough competition from retail giants, they need to consider their customer’s needs more than ever. Our research shows a queue can seriously impact in-store sales so SMEs need to employ ways to reduce store queue times and better engage customers – this could include in-store iPad tills and the option to shop online.

‘Our research shows an omnichannel presence can no longer be ignored and shop owners need to ensure they have a high-quality presence wherever their customers are interacting with them, be that online or in-store.’

Further reading on shop queue

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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