Value wins over values
US consumers prefer ecommerce brands who offer easy order experiences over those who focus on values & beliefs (if given the choice).
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a contentious election season, a Supreme Court vacancy, racial justice protests, buying green or buying American, the debate over the future of the country has perhaps never been more hotly debated. But against a backdrop of cable news conspiracies and public Twitter feuds, Americans are in fact united about one thing: the primacy of free and convenient ecommerce order experiences.
That’s what we discovered in our first-ever edition of Pitney Bowes BOXpoll, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture and ecommerce logistics. We gave about 2,000 consumers the ecommerce equivalent of the trolley problem: imagine an item you really want to buy is available from two online retailers. Same product. Same price.
- One retailer is aligned with your personal values—maybe you like their politics or their stance on the environment, or maybe they donate to your favorite charity with every purchase.
- The other retailer? You don’t know anything about their values, but unlike the first, they offer a compelling order experience: free, fast and/or convenient delivery and returns.
Value drives 3x more purchasing than values
73% of consumers (in other words, reportedly 1.5x the proportion of Americans likely to vote for any single presidential candidate) would purchase from the online retailer with the best order experience over the company aligned with their values/beliefs. And whether we’re talking conservatives or progressives; blue or red state residents; decided or undecided voters, or people concerned or unconcerned about COVID-19, across the board more than 40% of shoppers think free shipping is more critical to tapping the ‘buy’ button than sharing political & social beliefs with the seller.
For millennials, free shipping is the No. 1 reason to choose one e-commerce retailer over another.
Where the generational divide lands on value vs. values
It seems values & beliefs drive purchases among older consumers the most. Baby Boomers are the only generation that still shops to a significant degree according to their values (33% ). 57% percent of Boomers, however, still chose free shipping. 58% of Millennials also choose free shipping over other considerations. 56% of Gen Xers and 55% of Gen Z consumers make the same choice. Gen Z and Millennials also felt a stronger pull (40% and 36%, respectively) toward fast shipping over shared beliefs.
Here’s the breakdown by generation:
Of course, ecommerce retailers know “free” shipping isn’t really free, but as this BOXpoll finding makes clear, there is one thing they can count on: US consumers aren’t divided about choosing the best order experiences.