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Free delivery expectations across age groups

By Sasha Fedorenko February 22, 2019 - 3:15 pm

Merchants are facing free delivery expectations brought on as a result of disruptors in the field and customers’ demands, says new research by National Retail Federation.

The report found that 75% of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50 (£38). That’s up from 68% a year ago. The quarterly report by NRF polled 3k US adults to understand their attitudes towards free delivery so that merchants can deliver upon shoppers’ ever-changing expectations.

When it comes to free delivery expectations across age groups, ‘baby boomers’ (born 1946-1964) want free shipping the most, with 88% of the age group expecting it. This follows by ‘generation x’ (1965-1980) at 77%, 61% for millennials (1981-1994) and 76% for Generation Z (1995 and later).

Free delivery priorities

It comes as no surprise that Etsy are encouraging sellers to offer free shipping, despite some Etsy sellers claiming that Etsy free shipping debate blackmails them into offering the service to stay on top the marketplace’s search rankings. Otherwise, they claim to be “penalised” by appearing lower in search results. Looking at the study’s findings it makes sense that Etsy wants their sellers to deliver upon customers’ expectations. Anything else would mean losing shoppers to competition.

Many consumers now consider shipping costs even before getting to the checkout page. Some 65% of consumers say that they look up free-shipping thresholds before adding items to their online shopping carts. Shoppers also want their products fast, with 39% expecting two-day shipping to be free, and 29% have backed out of a purchase because two-day shipping wasn’t free.

Consumers want free delivery, and they’re willing to meet merchant halfway to get it. Merchants are offering more choices than ever in terms of how and when shoppers receive their purchases. And consumers are embracing these new fulfillment options – as long as they’re free.”
Mark Mathews, vice president of research development and industry analysis, NRF

  • Toby
    3 months ago

    But somehow they still don’t see that free shipping isn’t free…. it is in the price!
    The issue however some times shows itself when searching for items online and price is a factor… an item with free shipping will proberly have it built in, so will look more expensive than one without! For example if we sell item ‘X. at £19.99 inc shipping, we could have sold it for £14.99 without free shipping. Sometimes when you search it doesn’t immediately tell you that one has it and one doesn’t.
    With different weights, sizes, requirements etc a postage policy can be a nightmare! We stock anything from a 10g large letter format, toa 30kg big box format. Inbetween we have various sizes of things requiring special courier due to their hazardous nature… everything attracts a different price point and it isn’t just based on either weight or size! Hence we decided to go down the free delivery route as it was easier. From the consumers point of view though, if they buy multiple items… they are paying excessive postage in it all! So FREE doesn’t look so good after all!

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