Study shows more shoppers want free shipping

Freeman Staff

Jan. 18, 2019

WAUKESHA — A recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found that more consumers want and expect free shipping for items they buy online; however, more are embracing options such as local store pickup.

“Consumers want free delivery, and they’re willing to meet retailers halfway to get it,” NRF Vice President for Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews said in the report. “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 report found that 75 percent of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50, up from 68 percent a year ago.

“As the realms of physical and digital shopping converge, retailers are offering more choices than ever in terms of how and when shoppers receive their purchases,” the report said. “And consumers are embracing these new fulfillment options — as long as they’re free.”

Of the consumers wanting free shipping, baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 demanded it the most at 88 percent. In comparison, Generation X (1965-1980) want free shipping 77 percent, 61 percent of millennials (19811994) want it and 76 percent of Generation Z (1995 and later) seek it.

“Many consumers now consider shipping costs even before getting to the checkout page, with 65 percent saying they look up free-shipping thresholds before adding items to their online shopping carts,” reads the report. “Consumers also want their products fast, with 39 percent expecting two-day shipping to be free, and 29 percent have backed out of a purchase because two-day shipping wasn’t free.”

In addition, the survey revealed that 70 percent of consumers who have picked up items ordered online at the store did so, and mostly to avoid paying for shipping.

The survey also found 58 percent are interested in going to retail events, with 87 percent saying they would come in for a sale or early/exclusive access to items, 81 percent for a party, 80 percent for a product demonstration, 71 percent for a game or competition, and 69 percent to interact with a product expert or to visit a pop-up shop.