Despite difficulties in finding and receiving items, most consumers say they had a good shopping experience during the 2020 holiday season.
According to a new survey of more than 1,100 U.S. consumers from delivery management solutions provider Convey, almost nine in 10 (88%) respondents said their 2020 holiday shopping experience was as good or better than the previous year. In fact, more than one-third (35%) said their shopping experience was better this holiday than last, and only 13% said it was worse.
The upbeat assessment came despite significant inventory and delivery problems. Four in 10 respondents (41%) said their biggest problem during the holiday was that “shipping took longer than expected,” followed by “items I wanted weren’t available” (34%).
Heading into the holiday season, many physical store locations were temporarily closed or operated at limited capacity due to COVID-19 safety precautions, and nearly one in four respondents (23%) said not being able to shop in-store was a problem. Among those who tried visiting stores, one in four (24%) said the experience was uncomfortable or didn’t meet expectations, while another 15% said they had to wait in long lines before entering.
Not surprisingly, these conditions drove many respondents online. One in three (33%) respondents said they shopped exclusively on the web for holiday gifts, and another 58% used both the web and physical stores.
Despite general satisfaction with their overall holiday shopping experience, 47% of survey respondents said they are unlikely to shop with a retailer again after a bad shipping experience. And respondents did experience mishaps:
• More than half (57%) said at least one package arrived later than promised, and 56% said it took longer than they expected to receive items.
• Nearly one in four (24%) cited “items were delayed in transit and didn’t arrive by Christmas” as a problem they experienced this holiday
• 52% didn’t purchase an item they put in their online shopping cart because it wouldn’t arrive on time
• 53% used buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) or curbside pickup for a purchase, but 15% said it was a problem that the items they wanted weren’t available for BOPIS
Despite these problems, however, most respondents reported being flexible about gift delivery and were surprisingly upbeat about their holiday shopping experiences overall. Eight in 10 (80%) were willing to give retailers more time to deliver items due to COVID-19 and 76% remained flexible knowing that gifts might not arrive by Christmas due to the pandemic. Eighty-two percent felt they had a safer Christmas because of online shopping options.
Other notable findings include:
• 87% of respondents said delivery is an important part of the overall shopping experience.
• 44% will start their holiday shopping even earlier than in 2020.
• 20% of respondents said they don’t trust estimated delivery dates (EDD).
• Despite their positive outlook about the holidays overall, nearly one in four (23%) said they will be more selective this year about which retailers they choose for online shopping.