Pop quiz: Sally is holiday shopping for her prickly mother-in-law. After browsing personalized bracelets, specialty chocolate boxes and quippy coffee mugs, she finally spots the perfect gift: a cloud-soft throw blanket from a cause-driven brand. Add to cart, head to checkout, and now... the shipping page.
It’s a fine line for retailers to navigate, especially as many consumers move further away from cities, making last-mile delivery that’s both economical & speedy an endangered species.
It’s a tradeoff retailers are going to have to make in the next year (as higher surcharges for certain extended and ‘remote’ zip codes are introduced): offer more economical shipping options at reasonable speeds, or maintain the same speeds at a higher cost.
This round of BOXpoll surveys reveals most consumers would rather wait 5-7 days for free shipping than pay to upgrade to 2-4 day—but if expected delivery time exceeds 7 days, the number of consumers who are willing to click “buy” tails off.
We’re taking a deep dive into demographics and looking closely at who’s willing to pay more, who’s willing to comparison shop and who’s most likely to abandon cart.
- Most shoppers of course don’t want to pay for shipping at all, let alone expedited. When it comes to all general products, almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents said they were unlikely to upgrade. Here’s a closer look at who might be willing to pay for expedited shipping:
- Surprising no one, younger generations proved to be the most impatient shoppers. Almost half (43%) of Millennials and more than one-third (38%) of Gen Zers are likely to pay for speed. Meanwhile, 83% of Baby Boomers are happy to wait a few extra days on the new Tom Clancy novel.
- Parents are almost twice as likely (41%) to pay than adults without children (23%). Those who don’t have the luxury of time are willing to pay a premium to minimize time spent waiting.
- It’s no shock that shoppers with annual household incomes exceeding $100K were 10 percentage points more likely to pay extra than those with lower incomes. However, we were interested to see that those earning 50K-100K were just as likely (27%) as those earning less than 50K to upgrade their shipping.
- Urban residents are significantly more likely (39%) to pay for speed than suburban (24%) and rural (22%) residents. It’s a trend investors have acted on, leading to an explosion of ultrafast delivery services in cities across the U.S.
- The most likely product category to earn a shipping upgrade is electronics, almost certainly because of high product value. Almost one-third (32%) of consumers decided that if they’re already paying an arm and a leg for the new iPhone, they might as well throw in an extra shoulder to get it faster.
- Food/beverage and apparel/footwear tied for second place, both earning upgrades from 29% of consumers.
- Just because consumers prioritize cost over speed doesn’t mean they don't care about speed at all. Most (56%) consumers are willing to shop around for faster free shipping if their first-choice retailer’s shipping time exceeds 7 days.
- Responses from this question confirm demographic trends around which shoppers most value speed.
- People with children (67%), people with household incomes of more than 100K (64%) and Millennials (63%) are the most likely groups to shop for faster free shipping alternatives. However, their demographic counterparts are not far behind in willingness to shop around.
- Baby Boomers are the least likely group (49%) to look to other retailers for faster free shipping.
- The types of products that consumers want faster echoed findings from our first question. People value speed most with electronics, apparel/footwear and food/beverage.
- Consumer responses tell a consistent story: cost beats speed and brand loyalty for most, especially among older generations. Surprisingly, more than half of all adults, and at least 45% of each demographic group, will accept a 7-day delivery time in return for a unique brand.
- Baby Boomers (67%) and Gen Xers (58%) are most willing to wait longer in exchange for free shipping, while time-crunched Millennials (32%) and Gen Zers (28%) are the most willing to turn to a competitor in search of faster delivery, even for a unique or preferred product.
Consistent with expectations, younger generations are less patient. If shipping is going to take longer than 7 days, more than half of Gen Zers (54%) and Millennials (51%) are going to rethink the purchase, and a sizable portion of that group (28% of Gen Zers and 32% of Millennials) will seek out alternatives.
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 October-November 2021.© Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc.