The Nightmare Before Checkout: Online Retailers Lose Big As 18% of Online Us Adults Have Canceled Purchases Due to Forgotten Passwords Or Usernames

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18% of online US adults have canceled purchases due to forgotten passwords or usernames, 53% forced to use ‘reset password’ feature.

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Nearly 1 out of 5 online adults in the US (18%) has ever given up on an e-commerce purchase because they were unable to remember their passwords or usernames.

Early reporting suggests Cyber Monday 2013 to be a success as sales of $1.7 billion made it the heaviest online spending day in US history, and the National Retail Federation reports that an estimated 131 million Americans shopped online. However, recent findings from a Dashlane survey, conducted online among over 2,000 online US adults by Harris Interactive immediately following the Cyber Monday shopping week suggest online retailers could be missing out on billions in annual sales as customers give up on online purchases due to frustration with passwords or usernames.

According to the survey findings, nearly 1 out of 5 online adults in the US (18%) has ever given up on an e-commerce purchase because they were unable to remember their passwords or usernames. Additionally, 1 out of 4 online US adults reported having ever experienced difficulty logging into an e-commerce site that required a log-in name or password, a figure that suggests consumer difficulty begins even before the checkout process has started.

Losing big dollars from big spenders

A recent National Retail Federation study reported that people earning $50K or more annually will spend $120 more online during the holidays ($231.06) than those earning under $50K ($110.48). They also report that only 46.5% of adults making less than $50K shopped online Cyber Monday, whereas 64.6% of those earning $50k or more shopped online during Cyber Monday. Additionally, an eMarketer study reported that the Baby Boomers spend more time and money online than any other group.

What has to be particularly worrying for e-commerce sites is that these demographics are the ones disproportionately affected by password restraints in e-commerce transactions. 23% of online adults with household incomes of $100k+ gave up an online purchase because of a forgotten password or username, and 27% reported having experienced difficult logging into an e-commerce site that required a log-in name or password.

Among the results of the survey, Dashlane found that nearly 1 out of 3 online adults between 45-54 (32%) expressed having ever had a difficult time logging into an e-commerce website. Dashlane found that 19% of online US adults in the slightly older 55-64 demographic had also given up a purchase from an e-commerce site because of a forgotten password or username.

Similar figures were also seen in college graduates as 23% have ever given up on an online purchase because of a forgotten password or username, and 27% reported having had difficulty logging into an e-commerce site that required a log-in name or password.

E-commerce not optimized for mobile experience

The National Retail Federation reports that 55.6% of US adults over 18 own a smartphone and 36.5% own a tablet. They estimate that over 16 million adults used a mobile to shop on Cyber Monday.

Similar to college graduates, Baby Boomer and higher earners, mobile users also experienced a disproportionately more difficult time with passwords and e-commerce sites. 28% of both smartphone and tablet owners reported having ever had difficulty logging into an e-commerce site, and 21% of smartphone owners and 23% of tablet owners ever gave up on an online purchase because there were too many forms.

These findings further illustrate the growing password problem online companies face as online shopping becomes the favorite mode of commerce for Americans.

Passwords cause headaches for everyone

The rest of the online world is not immune from the universal problems of passwords as over 8 out of 10 online US adults (81%) have forgotten at least one password and 53% of online US adults report having to use the “reset username or password” feature. Furthermore, 62% have reported having had difficulty logging into websites that require a login name or password. Compounding this matter is the process online users must go through when they forget a password, as 41% of online US adults have had difficulty accessing their account after forgetting a password.

We again see that potentially high spending demographics are overly affected, with 63% of tablet owners, 60% of smartphone owners, 63% of college graduates and 61% of people with household incomes of $75k+ reported using the ‘reset password’ feature.

Improving the password experience

In addition to providing consumers a secure way to store their passwords and personal data, password managers such as Dashlane can expedite the checkout process and decrease the number of passwords a consumer must remember, as well as the number of forms they must fill.

This data has ramifications for e-commerce as the Dashlane figures indicate that retailers can actually increase their customer engagement and the amount they spend by solving their password problem.

Says Dashlane CEO Emmanuel Schalit:

"We have intuitively assumed for the longest time that e-commerce was one of the biggest areas of the Internet affected by the password problem, and the survey numbers are the first ever figures of their kind to show the extreme loss of business for online retailers due to consumer frustration with passwords or usernames.

Global e-commerce sales were over $1 trillion in 2012 and that figure is expected to increase to almost $1.3 trillion this year. The US market alone is expected to do nearly $410 billion in sales. Given this study’s data it’s safe to say that e-commerce is easily losing billions each year, if not more, because consumers are simply giving up on making online purchases out of frustration.

The password and the password problem are not going anywhere any time soon; e-commerce, and online consumers, will continue to lose until steps are taken to mitigate the problem. We’ve seen from our own internal data that people that start using password managers quickly transition to using it multiple times a day on all of their devices. They use the app for everything from logging in to filling out complex checkout forms and on average save up to 50 hours a year in the process of doing so. Improving this experience is bound to have a large impact on the almost 1 in 5 online purchases that are not happening today due to password problems."


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Dashlane from December 3-5, 2013 among 2032 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Ryan Merchant, (Ryan(at)Dashlane(dot)com).


Dashlane is tackling the universal problem of passwords by offering the world’s best password manager and digital wallet app. It provides users with a beautiful interface and a seamless way to store all of their passwords, ID’s and payment information. User data is stored locally in a securely encrypted AES-256 vault and the encryption key is never recorded, stored or transmitted anywhere – meaning nobody, except the user, can access the data. The app is available on Mac, PC, iOS and Android and can be synced across all of these devices. Dashlane was recently selected by PC Mag as one of “The Best Products of 2013."

Dashlane was founded in 2009 by Bernard Liautaud, the co-founder and former CEO of Business Objects. The company has raised $8 million to date backed by Rho Capital Ventures, FirstMark Capital as well as Mr. Liautaud. Dashlane is based in New York City and has an office in Paris, France.

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Ryan Merchant

Ryan Merchant
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