Shoppers will spend more and wait longer for online purchases that offer free shipping, according to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, released earlier this month.
The survey by technology firm Inmar Intelligence reinforces the power of free shipping in an accelerated e-commerce environment and highlights a host of other consumer trends as the economy emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the survey, 78% of consumers are willing to buy more just to get free shipping, and a majority say they don’t mind waiting a few extra days to receive their items if free shipping is an option. The data also show the lengths consumers will go to receive free shipping, including picking up their order at a nearby grocery store, pharmacy, or Amazon locker-like setting—a practice that can help retailers cut back on last-mile delivery costs.
The survey also affirmed that consumers don’t want to pay to send things back: 62% said they are not willing to pay for shipping and handling of returns. Of those willing to cover the cost of returns, 64% said they would pay less than $10 to do so.
Other survey findings include:
52% are willing to spend $25 to $50 in a single transaction if it means they will receive free shipping;
85% of shoppers would be willing to pick up their packages at a local grocery store or pharmacy if it saved them the cost of shipping;
79% expect free shipping when ordering apparel and home goods online;
87% don’t mind waiting longer (five to seven days) to receive their purchase if it means they get free shipping, despite 48% who expect deliveries to arrive in two to three days.
“Over the past year, consumer behaviors and expectations when it comes to e-commerce have clearly shifted,” said Ken Bays, vice president of product development at Inmar Intelligence. “Consumers have an expectation of free shipping, but what’s surprising is the methods they’ll accept to receive that incentive. From the retailers’ perspective, consumers are willing to provide their own last mile, which allows retailers to come up with creative alternatives for fulfillment and reduce, sometimes remove, last-mile costs. It is a trend that is here to stay, and one that could be beneficial for all.”