Survey: Small shipping costs have big impact

Press enter to search
Close search
Open Menu

Survey: Small shipping costs have big impact

By Dan Berthiaume - 12/03/2019

Retailers really need to consider free or reduced-cost shipping.

According to a new survey from market research firm Clutch, more than three-quarters (77%) of online shoppers say they are very likely to order an item they’re considering if the shipping cost is free, compared to only 43% who say the same for an item with $2.99 shipping. Online shoppers expect free shipping almost equally for both small items, such as clothing, and large items, such as furniture. Thirty-two percent (32%) of online shoppers expect free shipping for small items, and 30% expect it for large items.

A similar number of Amazon Prime members and non-members expect free shipping for both small items (34% versus 28%, respectively) and large items (32% versus 27%). Amazon popularized the free shipping trend, but the expectation of free shipping is not limited to Amazon’s customers.

Furthermore, 34% more online shoppers say they’re “very likely” to order an item they’re considering if the shipping cost is free versus only $2.99. Broken down, 77% of online shoppers say they’re very likely to order an item they’re considering if the shipping cost is free. Only 43% say the same when the shipping cost is $2.99. 

That means retailers could lose more than one-third of customers due to a $2.99 difference in price, according to Clutch analysis. The likelihood of ordering an item goes down further as shipping costs increase. Twenty-one percent (21%) of online shoppers say they are very interested in the product with a $5.99 shipping cost and only 13% of online shoppers say the same if the shipping cost is $8.99.

Clutch surveyed 528 U.S. consumers who ordered a package online in the past six months.