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Online Shoppers Willing to Sacrifice Delivery Speed for Lower Cost

When shopping online, which takes priority for you – reducing the cost of shipping or getting the item quickly? Would you be surprised that even during the holiday shopping season, online shoppers are willing to sacrifice delivery speed for lower shipping costs?

Purolator International surveyed shoppers in the US and Canada following last year’s holiday shopping season. It found most shoppers sacrificed speed for lower costs, choosing extended delivery times for their online purchases: a majority of Canadians (78%) and Americans (58%) typically opted for shipping that took four days or longer.

“This willingness to wait can be directly linked to cost,” according to Purolator International.

The survey found that 76% of Canadian customers who made an online purchase from a U.S.-based retailer, as well as 63% of U.S. online shoppers, identified shipping costs as very important in their purchasing and shipment decision.

The company, a leading provider of cross-border logistics between the U.S. and Canada, is projecting that December 15, 16, and 17 will be its peak delivery days this holiday season.

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Shoppers in both countries said they believed their national Postal Service was an acceptable alternative to other types of delivery services, “with 62% Canadians and 60% Americans viewing this as a suitable alternative when the speed and visibility of a delivery isn’t a concern.”

As far as the cost of returning items, the study found that high return shipping costs had prevented 40% of Canadians and 29% of Americans from returning an item purchased online. And 37% of Canadians and 32% of Americans said they had not returned an item because of the inconvenience in repackaging it.

The study also found that nearly half (49%) of Americans and a majority (63%) of Canadians had decided against purchasing a holiday item because of high shipping costs.

That doesn’t bode well for sellers once January rolls around with the cost of shipping rising not only for UPS and FedEx, but for USPS, which is instituting a significant rate increase on shipping services.

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.