More than ever, today’s consumers are expecting free delivery of the items they buy online and embracing new options like picking up online purchases at local stores, according to a report released by the National Retail Federation.
“Consumers want free delivery, and they’re willing to meet retailers halfway to get it,” said Mark Matthews, NRF Vice President for Research Development and Industry Analysis. “If we can get their purchase to the store, they’ll come pick it up if that’s what it takes to avoid a delivery charge. And once they’re in the store, they are very open to seeing what else the retailer has to offer. This is part of the growing evidence that consumers see retail as retail regardless of how they make their purchases and get them.”
The research shows that consumers are open to embracing new fulfillment options, with one stipulation: it must be free.
Among the groups that heavily expect free shipping were Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964). The report shows that 88% of this generation doesn’t just want free shipping, but expects it. That compares with 77% for Generation X (1965-1980), 61% for Millennials (1981-1994) and 76% for Generation Z (1995 and later).
The report found that, in general, 75% of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50, up from 68% a year ago.
Many consumers now consider shipping costs even before getting to the checkout page, with 65% saying they look up free-shipping thresholds before adding items to their online shopping carts. Consumers also want their products fast, with 39% expecting two-day shipping to be free, and 29% have backed out of a purchase because two-day shipping wasn’t free.
The survey found that 70% of consumers who are aware of buying online and picking up in-store had tried it, and the top reason for doing so was to avoid paying for shipping. Picking up at the cash register is still the most frequent practice, done by 83% of those who have bought online and picked up in-store. But as options grow, 63% would like to be able to use curbside pickup (tried so far by only 27%), 56% want merchandise delivered to the trunk of their cars (tried by 19%) and 50% want to retrieve purchases from a locker (tried by 16%).
Consumer View is a quarterly report issued by NRF that gauges consumer behavior and shopping trends related to stores, online channels, customer loyalty, technology and other topics. Toluna Analytics surveyed 3,002 U.S. adults 18 or older for NRF October 23 through November 30, 2018. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Source: National Retail Federation