Curb (or couch) your enthusiasm?

We ask consumers whether buy-online-pickup-somewhere is eating into the popularity of home delivery

In 2020, curbside pickup had a moment (or more). The percentage of top retailers offering curbside pickup in the US rose from 7% in December 2019 to 44% by August 2020. Click-and-collect sales (combining curbside and in-store pickup) increased 107% in 2020. In 2021, buy-online-pickup-somewhere sales are estimated to have grown 15%— significantly lower slower growth vs 2020, but growing nonetheless—and forecasted to grow 20% or more this year and next.

Given all the growth of offering curbside amongst retailers—especially large retailers who, you know, have most of the curbs—we wanted to understand how consumers felt about this trend. Aside from grocery—where 44% of respondents to our latest BOXpoll surveys said they preferred curbside pickup to home delivery—no other category garnered more than 25% of consumers voting with the trunks of their cars.


We need to talk about Nana’s online shopping habit

Baby Boomers, whose shopping habits took a hard online pivot in response to the pandemic, lead the home delivery charge. Almost three-quarters of the demographic (73%) prefer delivery over curbside, and we see a 35% difference between those who are much more likely and those who are somewhat more likely to choose delivery.

Those who have household incomes above 100K and those who don’t have kids follow closely behind in the ranks of Team Strong Preference for Delivery. We attribute high-income shoppers’ preference for home delivery to a strong demographic overlap with Baby Boomers. People who don’t have children tend not to be as crunched for time and have the flexibility to wait for delivery.

The top two factors—by a mile—that drive a choice for delivery over curbside pickup are free shipping and not minding waiting on shipping. This finding supports our previous BOXpoll reporting that nearly three-quarters of shoppers prioritize cost over delivery speed. If free shipping is on the table or if he doesn’t need his new meat thermometer urgently, there's not much incentive for John Q. Public to use his precious gas on curbside pickup.

Nobody puts curbside in a corner

Sometimes though, free shipping isn’t an option, or John has a crowd coming over tonight (and who are we do deny them their smoked meat?) Avoiding shipping costs (show us a shopper who doesn’t love free shipping) and getting the item faster than if it were shipped are the top two reasons consumers opt for curbside.

Those who don't have the luxury of time are more willing to sacrifice the convenience of home delivery for the sake of getting their item quickly. Millennials, parents, and Gen Z, who we know from previous BOXpoll surveys are the most sensitive to time, are the most willing to opt for curbside.

Reasons to go in-store

When it comes to orders for which a trip to the store is necessary (looking at you, consumer packaged goods), consumers often have two choices: curbside and in-store. While many store-based retailers have rushed to enable curbside for COVID-concerned (or curbside-accustomed) shoppers, it’s logistically complex and time-consuming.

Retailers looking to shift curbside orders toward in-store pickup should focus on providing an in-store experience worthy of being a few minutes late to the next appointment. Shoppers ranked enjoying the browsing experience above checking out promotions as the number one reason to get out of the car.

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 2022.© Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc.

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