Shoppers Have a Need for Speed – Not Just Free Shipping – This Holiday Season

Third annual survey from Convey shows twice as many consumers cite shipping speed as important this holiday; concerns about delays and theft are also top of mind

AUSTIN, Texas--()--Retailers must compete on speed as well as cost when it comes to delivering holiday gifts this year, according to the third annual survey conducted by Austin-based Convey. The new report, entitled ‘Last Mile Delivery Wars: How To Keep Retail Promises and Win with Reliability’ also found that the potential for package theft is a top concern, second only to late delivery, for the 94.9% of consumers who plan to shop online this season.

The survey of more than 2,500 US consumers identifies the trends and themes that will define the online shopping experience this holiday and beyond. Key findings include:

Shoppers Want Fast & Free Shipping

The fast, free shipping enjoyed by an estimated 100 million subscribers to Amazon's Prime service is setting a high bar for the retail industry as a whole. The study found there is a strong Amazon effect when it comes to shipping this holiday, with twice as many consumers saying speed is a critical factor this year versus last.

  • 3 in 5 respondents (64.3%) cite ‘cost’ as the most important factor when it comes to shipping. However, ‘speed’ was cited second by nearly 1 in 5 respondents (18.7%) – twice as many as last year (9.7% in 2018).
  • A faster estimated delivery date (EDD) in the online shopping cart has a big impact on purchase decisions, with 28.6% of shoppers saying they'd be more likely to buy if the order would arrive within a week, compared with just 7.5% who say the shipping date doesn't impact their likelihood to buy.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 respondents (79.3%) cited ‘free 2-day shipping’ as important. By contrast, just 30.8% of respondents said ‘in-store pickup’ is important, suggesting that the alternative retailers have come to rely on as a means for competing on fast and free fulfillment pales in comparison to speedy delivery.

Porch Piracy Top of Mind

The rise in eCommerce has led to an increase in thieves that steal packages from shopper’s doorsteps or porches. These ‘porch pirates’ are keenly aware of the shopping holidays that spike deliveries, just like the rest of Americans.

  • Late delivery of packages is the number one concern this holiday (38.6%). But second is the fear of theft, with 1 in 5 shoppers (21.9%) saying they are worried their packages will be stolen after delivery.
  • Given this concern, it's no surprise that two-thirds of shoppers (66.5%) say the ability to track packages en route is an important service, while 12.8% say they'd like the option to change delivery destinations once orders are in transit.

Get Delivery Right or Lose Customers

The stakes are high for retailers to provide a memorable online shopping experience during the holiday boom. Although shipping and delivery mishaps may be unavoidable, transparency is essential in order to maintain a positive experience. Expectations for brands, not just carriers, to communicate delays is now universal.

  • More than 8 in 10 shoppers (83.7%) say that delivery is important to overall shopping experience, up from 73.6% in 2018. And for 4 in 10 shoppers (43.8%), the delivery experience is considered very important.
  • 98.3% of respondents said they want a notification in some form if their delivery is late – up more than 10% from last year (87.8% in 2018). Shoppers overwhelmingly prefer to be notified via email (55%) and SMS (32.5%) if their package is late. By contrast, just 1 in 10 expect to have to visit a tracking page to find out about delays (10.2%).
  • Overall, more than 7 in 10 (72.7%) shoppers say they are unlikely to purchase from a brand again after a poor delivery experience. With the holiday stakes so high, retailers should pay close attention to this key metric.

Our annual study is designed to illuminate key shipping trends that retailers can use to improve the overall brand experience,” said Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Chief Growth Officer at Convey. “We confirmed that consumers want shipping to be both free and fast, and store pickup isn’t necessarily a replacement for direct delivery. Consumers also expect transparent communication about deliveries and are actively seeking ways to track and manage shipments. For brands that like to think they aren't competing with Amazon, the data clearly suggests that shoppers think they are.”

About Convey

With delivery expectations skyrocketing, brands cannot leave the critical last mile to chance. Convey’s Delivery Experience Management platform combines real-time visibility, post-purchase experiences, and advanced insights and analytics to create a solution uniquely capable of perfecting last mile delivery. Supply chain and customer experience leaders including Neiman Marcus, and Eddie Bauer rely on Convey’s software and expertise to take action to ensure shoppers get their orders how and when they want, resulting in happier, loyal customers and a lower cost to serve. Founded in 2013, Convey is backed by Silverton Partners, Techstars Venture Group, RPM Ventures and based in Austin, Texas. Learn more about Convey at:


Renee Newby

Release Summary

Third annual survey from Austin-based Convey shows twice as many consumers cite shipping speed as important this holiday


Renee Newby