Speed is in the eye of the beholder

Here’s where distance doesn’t lower shipping expectations among cross-border consumers.

In an earlier edition of BOXpoll, we asked US consumers about how their definitions of “fast” and “slow” delivery had changed since the start of the pandemic (spoiler: expectations are now lower). But domestic shipping expectations aren’t as impacted by how far consumers believe a package must travel—particularly compared to cross-border transactions.

As part of our cross-border series, we recently asked this same question about the perception of delivery speed from the US to consumers in 6 different markets. We found that distance plays a significant role—but so does culture.

  • Driven by standards set by JD.com and Alibaba, Chinese consumers have an above average standard of “fast” delivery, even for cross border transactions. For example, in 2020, JD.com delivered 90% of orders via their network within 1 day. That’s brisk, baby.
  • In fact, Chinese consumers’ expectations are closer to Canadian consumers, who consider 0-2 days to be fast delivery from the US. Surprising, considering China is about 15 times farther from the US than Canada. Check out our Cross-Border Market Value Model to learn more about the opportunity and complexity to serve each of these markets.
  • European consumers, who have like-minded expectations about delivery speed from the US, are more lenient given shorter shipping times within Europe.
  • Australian consumers, living furthest away among markets we surveyed, have lowered expectations—but not by much, with the definition of “fast” maxing out at 6 days.
  • But “fast” isn’t always the most important factor; cross-border consumers on average find an additional 2 days of transit time to be acceptable. Check out the full breakdown on perceptions of speed below.

BOXpollTM by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture,and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult //2094 US consumers surveyed February 2021.© Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc.

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