Consumer expectations for holiday delivery are…

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Many holiday shoppers have misgivings about online delivery reliability.

Most holiday shoppers are not willing to pay for expedited shipping.

Almost half (48%) of respondents expressed unwillingness to pay for expedited shipping, favoring instead to complete their shopping well ahead of shipping deadlines, according to the 2023 U.S. holiday shipping survey from Blue Yonder. The trend was further pronounced for baby-boomer respondents, 64% of whom were unwilling to pay for expedited shipping. 

Only 13% of all respondents were willing to pay between $11 and $20 for expedited shipping, with another 37% willing to pay $5 to $10.

When asked if they would be willing to use alternative shopping methods like buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS), 45% of respondents said they would only do so if the pick-up location was convenient for them. And 20% said they would not be willing to utilize an alternative delivery method.

In other findings, 48% of respondents are skeptical about the reliability of home delivery. Despite the widespread skepticism, half of respondents believe placing an online order by Dec. 15 will ensure their packages arrive by Christmas. 

Slightly more than half (52%) said they expected any packages purchased online to arrive within two to four days of placing an order. Roughly four in 10 said they expected packages to arrive within five to seven days.

However, 38% of respondents said they would prefer to shop in-store during the 2023 holiday season due to more flexible return options, with 35% citing the availability of free in-store returns as a key priority.

[Read more: How retailers can drive loyalty with returns]

“The survey results tell us that consumers are well aware of the benefits and potential drawbacks of the multitude of shopping options,” said Shannon Wu-Lebron, corporate VP, Global Retail Industry Strategy, Blue Yonder. “Whether visiting a store in-person, buying online, or using BOPIS, consumers are thoughtfully considering several determining factors: price, convenience, and timing. Online shopping was previously considered the pinnacle of convenience; however, today 48% of consumers believe delivery estimates to be potentially unreliable and 38% are afraid their packages will be damaged en route. For some consumers, the risk is worth the benefit — others will make different choices.”

Blue Yonder collected responses on Nov. 7, 2023, from more than 1,300 U.S.-based consumers, 18 years and older, via a third-party provider for its consumer holiday shipping survey.

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