Holiday shoppers' shipping expectations rising
Fast and free shipping is the No. 1 preference of holiday shoppers this year, according to Deloitte's 33rd annual survey of consumer spending intentions and trends.
For the second consecutive year, 88 percent of survey respondents prefer free shipping over receiving their holiday packages faster (12 percent).
"The same percentage of shoppers prefer fast shipping over free compared with last year, but perceptions about delivery speed have changed considerably,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and US retail and distribution leader. “The expectation for delivery has become two days or less. Fast and free used to be considered incentives, and now they’re just table stakes."
The majority (61 percent) of holiday shoppers report they will buy items that qualify for free shipping this season. For free shipping, two-thirds (66 percent) are willing to wait 3-7 days for their merchandise.
More than 3 in 5 people surveyed (62 percent) define “fast shipping” as two days or less, up from 54 percent in 2017. One-quarter (25 percent) define three to four-day delivery as fast shipping, down from 35 percent in 2017.
Among the reasons for shopping in stores, 47 percent of respondents said it was to “avoid shipping costs.” Their No 1. reason to shop online is “convenience” (77 percent) followed by “free shipping” (72 percent). Of the 77 percent of shoppers who are concerned about retailers who experienced breaches, nearly all (91 percent) say they would continue to shop those same retailers. Almost half (46 percent) indicate they would return if the retailer acted to regain their trust, and one-third (34 percent) say they would change their method of payment. Only 7 percent said they would never shop at that retailer again.
More than half of consumers are comfortable sharing basic demographic information with retailers, such as their gender (56 percent) and first and last name (53 percent).
Retailers have a smaller chance of obtaining certain types of personal information from consumers like geolocation (18 percent), financial history and credit scores (16 percent) or biometric data (12 percent). However, people may be willing to share information if they get something in return: 61 percent of respondents say they would take a promotion or discount in exchange for sharing personal information.
More than two-thirds (67 percent) of smartphone shoppers plan to use their phones to make a purchase, up from 59 percent last year.
This holiday season, 76 percent of respondents say they’ll use their desktop or laptop to shop, making it the most preferred device, but that number fell from 83 percent in 2017. Tablets remain relatively flat, at 22 percent, compared with 20 percent last year.
Newer technology has yet to capture attention; just 5 percent of people surveyed said they’d use voice assistant for shopping, 5 percent for social commerce, and 4 percent said they’d engage in virtual reality technology.
More than half (54 percent) of Generation Z (ages 18–23) and millennials (ages 24–41) (53 percent) say they’ll rely on Black Friday compared with only 37 percent of seniors. Those numbers are higher for Cyber Monday, where 63 percent of Generation Z and 62 percent of millennials indicate they’re sticking with Cyber Monday shopping as in the past.
Younger shoppers appear more willing to consider a higher price tag for social responsibility at checkout. Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) of Generation Z and three quarters (75 percent) of millennial shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. By comparison, almost half (47 percent) of baby boomers and 41 percent of seniors are not willing to pay extra.
"People seem to understand that breaches are unfortunately more common, and are willing to give back business to retailers who step up to regain their trust,” said Matt Marsh, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP and global and US risk and financial advisory leader for the retail and distribution practice. “For retailers, having the response plan in place ahead of time can help prevent them from getting crossed off shoppers’ lists. Whether in the store or online, people are connecting more through digital means with retailers and exchanging more data, making the stakes higher in everyday transactions."