Cost-conscious shoppers will be on the hunt for good deals this winter peak season, putting less emphasis on speedy fulfillment offers like two-day delivery, according to a consumer survey from e-commerce and fulfillment third party logistics provider (3PL) Radial.
To be sure, survey respondents still have clear preferences and concerns about how and when their orders arrive. But the survey uncovered a 15% decrease in expectations for two-day delivery compared to last year, suggesting changing priorities. Around 37% now find 3-5-day delivery acceptable, and 35% are comfortable waiting a week for their orders, Radial said.
Instead of pure speed, consumers increasingly value free shipping, with 68% of respondents saying it influences their brand choice. In addition, the research revealed consumers’ growing concern for sustainable practices, as more than half (57%) of respondents prioritize brands that use eco-friendly packaging and shipping, even more so than other green efforts like sustainable materials or ethical sourcing, Radial said.
In their search for lower prices, consumers are also shopping earlier. This year, 67% of consumers plan to begin their holiday shopping ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This trend reflects an inclination towards staggered shopping and a concerted search for comprehensive value amid inflation. When it comes to what consumers want most this season, it's a deal. Radial’s research spotlights the primary role of cost consciousness among today's holiday shoppers. Promotional sales and discounts (64%) are highlighted as a top factor driving purchasing decisions, demonstrating the significance of affordability during this period.
Additionally, as inflation prompts shifts in holiday shopping behaviors, 82% of respondents indicated that they will either reduce the amount of gifts or reduce their overall spend - either in gifts, food or decorations - in some way this holiday season. Retail brands looking to grab the attention of cost-conscious shoppers should consider forecasting promotional offerings earlier in the season to drive sales.
"Consumer shopping habits continue to evolve driven by external factors such as inflation and brand factors such as loyalty and product preferences. Brands must remain finely attuned to these shifting dynamics to align their brand experience with their customer expectations throughout the entirety of the shopping journey," Laura Ritchey, CEO of Radial, said in a release. "Gaining a deep understanding of these nuanced preferences equips brands to craft a tailored shopping experience that engages consumers during the bustling holiday season and well into the future."