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02/23/2022

Survey: Most consumers still prefer at-home delivery — especially this group

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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The only category for which consumers preferred curbside pickup over home delivery was groceries

Retailers are expanding curbside pickup options, but at-home delivery remains king for shoppers.  

That’s according to Pitney Bowes’ recent BOXpoll survey in which 64% of consumers, when asked how they want to collect their items, said they prefer home delivery, while just 23% prefer curbside pickup when given a choice between the two options. Twelve percent had no opinion.

The only category for which consumers preferred curbside pickup over home delivery was groceries (44% vs. 39%). In all other categories, no more than 25% of consumers preferred curbside pickup.

Baby boomers have an especially strong preference for home delivery. Almost three-quarters of the demographic (73%) prefer delivery over curbside. Also, there was a 35% difference between those who are much more likely (54%) and those who are somewhat more likely (19%) to choose delivery.

“While consumers like curbside pickup for time-sensitive or bulky items, our research found that nearly two-thirds of consumers will generally choose home delivery over curbside pickup, despite having to wait,” said Vijay Ramachandran, VP market strategy for global Ecommerce at Pitney Bowes. “For digitally native brands and retailers without the ability to offer curbside, this creates an opportunity to compete with large-format chains.”

Other highlights from the survey are below:

The two factors that overwhelmingly drive a choice for home delivery over curbside pickup are free shipping and consumers becoming more flexible with delivery times. More than half (64%) of shoppers say that free delivery on home shipping influences their decision to use it instead of curbside pickup.

• Conversely, just 38% of consumers would opt for curbside pickup for online purchases (other than groceries) as a way to receive their items without paying for shipping. Thirty-seven percent of consumers would opt for curbside pickup to receive their item faster.

• Surprisingly, 59% of all shoppers report that early deliveries are an inconvenience. The top two reasons consumers cited were “not being home on the day of delivery” and “being uncomfortable with deliveries sitting out.”

• Ninety-percent of shoppers said they will contact customer care if their online order doesn’t arrive on the date promised but will give an average grace period of 3 days before doing so.

• The presentation of delivery days also proved to be important to consumers. Small changes in format such as the estimated number of days (“2 days”) slightly beat an estimated date (“February 24”), which is even more preferred than an estimated day of the week, like “Thursday.”