Santa tracker fudge factor

Updating delivery dates after the buy button results in happier customers

Consumers dig Estimated Delivery Dates (EDDs); as our research uncovered earlier this year, EDDs are more important than fast shipping. But any EDD—even one expertly positioned on search results, product pages or in checkout—creates a promise. Shoppers hold retailers to that date—even if on-time delivery is out of a retailer’s control.

As the holiday season winds down and last-minute shoppers (see our weekly holiday shopping tracker below) begin to pay more attention to EDDs than they did before, we wanted to find out whether providing an updated EDD—a revised promise!—can prevent the reputational damage (or call center inquiries) resulting from a missed delivery date.



An astonishing three-quarters (76%) of shoppers say they will contact customer care if their online order doesn’t arrive by the date promised. Most consumers wait 3 days before reaching out—while GenZers, playing against stereotype, appear to be the most patient by waiting 4.5 days (and, to boot, only 58% say they will bother to call at all).

Perception is reality. While we know updated delivery date notifications from retailers aren’t yet the norm, consumers think they are, a misperception influenced by how much consumers shop with major retailers who provide this information more consistently.

Millennials, many of whom are parents of young children, have an especially attentive eye and are 27 percentage points more likely than not to notice updated delivery dates.

Parents gave almost identical responses as Millennials: 62% of parents noticed delivery date updates, compared with 41% of those without kids. Delivery dates matter regardless of whether you’re down to your last six diapers, or as the sound of jingling bells gets closer.


What’s the likelihood a shopper would recommend a retailer after experiencing a missed delivery date? In a situation where a retailer provides an updated delivery date, 42% of consumers say they’ll recommend that retailer to friends & family—an incredible number, given the disappointment of a late delivery. Retailers can take additional solace in the fact that Millennials and parents are especially likely (18 percentage points more likely than not) to recommend a brand that provides an updated EDD.

Herein lies the most tangible benefit to retailers: providing a revised EDD translates to nearly half as many consumers likely to call your customer care center (76% for missed EDD vs 44% for revised EDD). Every generation except for Millennials—who started their holiday shopping earlier than others specifically, because they are more sensitive to delays—are less likely to contact a brand about delays after a revised EDD is provided. Those who live in suburbs and rural areas are more than 10 percentage points less likely than their urban counterparts to contact customer care. Unsurprising that those who are more concerned about porch piracy and mailroom black holes would be a little less laissez-faire about when their order will arrive.

While delivery delays are out of a retailer’s control, updated dates (and, potentially, notifications) are a relatively simple solution that can help salvage brand reputation with many consumers, as well as spare customer care from increased call volumes.

BOXpoll™ 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 November-December 2021.© Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc.

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