Half of Americans Plan to Shop Online Earlier for Holiday Gifts

About 63 percent of shoppers want to make sure that they receive their packages on time this year


Stamford, Conn.Sept. 30, 2014—According to a recent survey conducted by Pitney Bowes Inc., half of Americans (49 percent) plan to shop online earlier for gifts this holiday season. The main reason for this decision is to make sure that they receive their packages on time (63 percent).

“Last year, holiday shipping challenges stemmed from a perfect storm of record-breaking weather combined with over-promises to deliver orders on time and a last-minute shipping surge,” said Christoph Stehmann, president, e-commerce and shipping solutions, Pitney Bowes. “To help capture holiday sales this year and meet customer expectations, retailers should prepare well in advance for the unexpected, and provide real-time visibility on shipping packages and reliable delivery estimates.”

Overall, 70 percent of Americans consider shipping options to be an important factor in the shopping experience compared to 66 percent in 2013. Also, one-third (33 percent) of respondents said that they plan to pay more attention to shipping this year compared to last year.

In addition, three in four Americans (77 percent) said that they track their packages that are being shipped to them vs. 68 percent in 2013. One-third (33 percent) track their packages once or twice. Another 21 percent track packages three to five times, and 23 percent track it six or more times.

When it comes to free shipping vs. fast shipping, 82 percent of Americans find free shipping in which the product arrives in five to seven days more attractive, while 17 percent prefer fast shipping in which the product arrives in one to two business days for a fee. As a result, retailers should consider offering free shipping as a delivery option well in advance of the holidays since this could mean that many Americans may be shopping even earlier this year.

On average, Americans who find fast shipping more attractive than free shipping would be willing to pay $8.50 for the package to arrive within two business days. Relatively few (19 percent) would be willing to pay more than $10 for fast shipping.

The second annual Pitney Bowes Holiday Shipping Survey was conducted by ORC International, and polled approximately 1,000 U.S. adults on their attitudes toward shopping and shipping leading up to the holidays. The survey was conducted via telephone in the U.S. using ORC’s Telephone CARAVAN Omnibus in August 2014.

Companies in this article