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Most Online Shoppers Track Their Packages Multiple Times

A recent survey found that 81 percent of consumers who made a purchase requiring shipping in the last year have tracked a package, with 30 percent tracking once or twice, 21 percent tracking 3-5 times and 30 percent tracking 6 or more times.

Pitney Bowes commissioned the survey to learn more about attitudes around shipping, and found that 80 percent of respondents considered shipping options, including free shipping, to be an important factor in their overall shopping experience.

Pitney Bowes VP and general manager of shipping solutions Jim Hendrickson said, “Shipping has become a considerable factor in consumers’ buying choices. In fact, there’s now a blurred line between the decision on a shipping method and the selection of a product when comes to the overall buying decision and customer experience and free shipping is just table stakes today.”

The survey found free shipping is by far more important to Americans surveyed over fast shipping (77 percent vs. 19 percent). That number spikes further among those who’ve shipped a purchase in the last year (82 percent vs. 16 percent, respectively).

One conclusion Pitney Bowes came to: with access to goods from many sources, consumers are prepared to walk away from a purchase if presented with excessive shipping costs – and, they do. Among those surveyed, half (49 percent) have at some time abandoned their shopping cart, whether online, in store, or over the phone, due to shipping costs.

On average, the threshold for abandoning a purchase occurs when shipping fees are $20 or more. Men have a higher threshold for cost, with $24 for shipping being the average tipping point.

While 9 in 10 (89 percent) of Americans have made an online purchase at some point this year, only half (46 percent) those surveyed have returned a package through the mail.

Who is most likely to return packages by mail?

  • 18-64 year olds (49%) versus age 65 and older (33%);
  • Household income of over $75,000 (65%) versus under $75,000 (39%)
  • College graduates (62%) versus those with some college education or less (39%)

The survey results are based on the findings of a telephone survey conducted with 1,005 adults 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed by ORC International in October 2013.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.