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April 03, 2020
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Report: Speed matters this holiday season

Consumer survey reveals shoppers' need for speed, not just free shipping, as the peak delivery season nears.

Retailers should brace for a strong "Amazon effect" this holiday season, as more shoppers seek free and fast delivery of their holiday purchases, according to a survey of consumers by logistics technology company Convey, released today.

The Austin, Texas-based firm's third annual consumer survey identified shipping costs as the most important factor in holiday delivery, followed by speed, with more than twice as many consumers citing delivery speed as important compared to what was reported last year, according to the company. The report also found that package theft is a top concern—second only to late delivery—for the nearly 95% of consumers who plan to shop online this season.

Some of the report's key findings include: 

  • Consumers want fast, free shipping. Sixty-four percent of respondents cited cost as the most important factor when it comes to shipping, and speed was cited second by nearly 19%—twice as many as last year's survey (9.7%).  The survey also found that a faster estimated delivery date (EDD) in the online shopping cart has a big impact on purchase decisions, with nearly 29% of shoppers saying they would be more likely to buy if the order would arrive within a week, compared with just 7.5% who said the shipping date doesn't affect their likelihood to buy. Nearly 80% of respondents cited free two-day shipping as important. By contrast, just 31% of respondents said store pickup is important, "suggesting that the alternative retailers have come to rely on as a means for competing on fast and free fulfillment pales in comparison to speedy delivery," the researchers said.
  • Theft is top-of-mind. Late delivery of packages (38.6%) is cited as the number one concern this holiday, but second is the fear of theft, with nearly 22% of respondents saying they are worried their packages will be stolen after delivery. "Given this concern, it's no surprise that two-thirds of shoppers (66.5%) say the ability to track packages en route is an important service, while 12.8% say they'd like the option to change delivery destinations once orders are in transit," the researchers found.
  • Experience matters. Nearly 84% of shoppers say that delivery is important to the overall shopping experience, up from nearly 74% in 2018. And for about 44% of respondents, the delivery experience is considered very important, researchers said. What's more, "expectations for brands—not just carriers—to communicate delays is now universal," the researchers said. "This year, 98.3% of respondents said they want a notification in some form if their delivery is late—up more than 10% from last year (87.8% in 2018)." Shoppers overwhelmingly prefer to be notified via email (55%) and text message (32.5%) if their package is late. By contrast, just 1 in 10 expect to have to visit a tracking page to find out about delays, the research found. On top of all that, 73% of shoppers say they are unlikely to purchase from a brand again after a poor delivery experience. 

Convey's third annual survey polled more than 2,500 consumers across the United States.

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