88% of Shoppers Value Free Shipping Over Speed

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “88% of Shoppers Value Free Shipping Over Speed”

Fast and free shipping return as holiday shopper favorites, according to Deloitte's 33rd annual "Holiday Survey" of consumer spending intentions and trends.

According to AudienceSCAN, 12% of the U.S. adult population is made up of eCommerce Devotees, a.k.a consumers who prefer to buy from internet-​based stores. This group does more than just make online purchases. Within the last month, 51% have used a search engine to research a product they were considering for purchase, 45% have played online games and 40% have looked up coupons or discount codes. This group is also 17% more likely than other adults to be willing to sacrifice some privacy to get ads that are relevant to them and 17% find advertising on their mobile apps useful to them.

Free consistently trumps fast when it comes to shipping preferences

  • For the second consecutive year, 88% of survey respondents prefer free shipping over receiving their holiday packages faster (12%).
  • The majority (61%) of holiday shoppers report they will buy items that qualify for free shipping this season. For free shipping, two-​thirds (66%) are willing to wait 3–7 days for their merchandise.
  • More than 3 in 5 people surveyed (62%) define "fast shipping" as two days or less, up from 54% in 2017. One-​quarter (25%) define three to four day delivery as fast shipping, down from 35% in 2017.
  • Among the reasons for shopping in stores, 47% of respondents said it was to "avoid shipping costs." Their top reason to shop online is "convenience" (77%) followed by "free shipping" (72%).

No lumps of coal for retailers impacted by past data breaches; most shoppers willing to trade personal information for discounts

  • Of the 77% of shoppers who are concerned about retailers who experienced breaches, nearly all (91%) say they would continue to shop those same retailers. Almost half (46%) indicate they would return if the retailer acted to regain their trust, and one-​third (34%) say they would change their method of payment. Only 7% said they would never shop at that retailer again.
  • More than half of consumers are comfortable sharing basic demographic information with retailers, such as their gender (56%) and first and last name (53%).
  • Retailers have a smaller chance of obtaining certain types of personal information from consumers like geolocation (18%), financial history and credit scores (16%) or biometric data (12%).
  • However, people may be willing to share information if they get something in return: 61% of respondents say they would take a promotion or discount in exchange for sharing personal information.

Shopping on PCs and tablets flattening, while mobile continues to accelerate

  • More than two-​thirds (67%) of smartphone shoppers plan to use their phones to make a purchase, up from 59% last year.
  • This holiday season, 76% of respondents say they'll use their desktop or laptop to shop, making it the most preferred device, but that number fell from 83% in 2017. Tablets remain relatively flat, at 22%, compared with 20% last year.
  • Newer technology has yet to capture attention; just 5% of people surveyed said they'd use voice assistant for shopping, 5% for social commerce, and 4% said they'd engage in virtual reality technology.

Younger generations more likely to gravitate toward discount shopping days and sustainable products

  • More than half (54%) of Generation Z (ages 18–23) and millennials (ages 24–41) (53%) say they'll rely on Black Friday compared with only 37% of seniors. Those numbers are higher for Cyber Monday, where 63% of Generation Z and 62% of millennials indicate they're sticking with Cyber Monday shopping as in the past.
  • Younger shoppers appear more willing to consider a higher price tag for social responsibility at checkout. Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) of Generation Z and three quarters (75%) of millennial shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. By comparison, almost half (47%) of baby boomers and 41% of seniors are not willing to pay extra.

"The same percentage of shoppers prefer fast shipping over free compared with last year, but perceptions about delivery speed have changed considerably," said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail and distribution leader. "The expectation for delivery has become two days or less. Fast and free used to be considered incentives, and now they're just table stakes."

Retailers can target eCommerce Devotees with advertisements on the media formats this group uses. According to AudienceSCAN, last year, 47.6% of these consumers took action after receiving email ads and 42.9% were driven to action after either receiving a text ad or seeing an advertisement on their mobile smartphone apps. They're also 6% more likely than other adults to click on text link ads on websites. Don't forget those coupons this group is searching for; last year, 47.1% of this audience took action after receiving direct mail ads/​coupons.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.