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Deloitte Study: Holiday Shoppers Hooked on Fast and Free Shipping

NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2018 — Fast and free shipping return as holiday shopper favorites, according to Deloitte’s 33rd annual "Holiday Survey" of consumer spending intentions and trends.

Free consistently trumps fast when it comes to shipping preferences

  • For the second consecutive year, 88 percent of survey respondents prefer free shipping over receiving their holiday packages faster (12 percent).
  • The majority (61 percent) of holiday shoppers report they will buy items that qualify for free shipping this season. For free shipping, two-thirds (66 percent) are willing to wait 3-7 days for their merchandise.
  • More than 3 in 5 people surveyed (62 percent) define “fast shipping” as two days or less, up from 54 percent in 2017. One-quarter (25 percent) define three to four-day delivery as fast shipping, down from 35 percent in 2017.
  • Among the reasons for shopping in stores, 47 percent of respondents said it was to “avoid shipping costs.” Their No 1. reason to shop online is “convenience” (77 percent) followed by “free shipping” (72 percent).

No lumps of coal for retailers impacted by past data breaches; most shoppers willing to trade personal information for discounts

  • Of the 77 percent of shoppers who are concerned about retailers who experienced breaches, nearly all (91 percent) say they would continue to shop those same retailers. Almost half (46 percent) indicate they would return if the retailer acted to regain their trust, and one-third (34 percent) say they would change their method of payment. Only 7 percent said they would never shop at that retailer again.
  • More than half of consumers are comfortable sharing basic demographic information with retailers, such as their gender (56 percent) and first and last name (53 percent).
  • Retailers have a smaller chance of obtaining certain types of personal information from consumers like geolocation (18 percent), financial history and credit scores (16 percent) or biometric data (12 percent).
  • However, people may be willing to share information if they get something in return: 61 percent of respondents say they would take a promotion or discount in exchange for sharing personal information.

Shopping on PCs and tablets flattening, while mobile continues to accelerate

  • More than two-thirds (67 percent) of smartphone shoppers plan to use their phones to make a purchase, up from 59 percent last year.
  • This holiday season, 76 percent of respondents say they’ll use their desktop or laptop to shop, making it the most preferred device, but that number fell from 83 percent in 2017. Tablets remain relatively flat, at 22 percent, compared with 20 percent last year.
  • Newer technology has yet to capture attention; just 5 percent of people surveyed said they’d use voice assistant for shopping, 5 percent for social commerce, and 4 percent said they’d engage in virtual reality technology.

Younger generations more likely to gravitate toward discount shopping days and sustainable products

  • More than half (54 percent) of Generation Z (ages 18–23) and millennials (ages 24–41) (53 percent) say they’ll rely on Black Friday compared with only 37 percent of seniors. Those numbers are higher for Cyber Monday, where 63 percent of Generation Z and 62 percent of millennials indicate they’re sticking with Cyber Monday shopping as in the past.
  • Younger shoppers appear more willing to consider a higher price tag for social responsibility at checkout. Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) of Generation Z and three quarters (75 percent) of millennial shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. By comparison, almost half (47 percent) of baby boomers and 41 percent of seniors are not willing to pay extra.

"The same percentage of shoppers prefer fast shipping over free compared with last year, but perceptions about delivery speed have changed considerably,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and US retail and distribution leader. “The expectation for delivery has become two days or less. Fast and free used to be considered incentives, and now they’re just table stakes."

"People seem to understand that breaches are unfortunately more common, and are willing to give back business to retailers who step up to regain their trust,” said Matt Marsh, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP and global and US risk and financial advisory leader for the retail and distribution practice. “For retailers, having the response plan in place ahead of time can help prevent them from getting crossed off shoppers’ lists. Whether in the store or online, people are connecting more through digital means with retailers and exchanging more data, making the stakes higher in everyday transactions."

Read the detailed survey results or visit Deloitte’s annual “Holiday Survey” page with the full report and infographic.

About the survey

This survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company from Sept. 6-13, 2018. It polled a national sample of 4,036 consumers and has a margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus 1 to 2 percentage points.

About Deloitte

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to make an impact that matters — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them.

Media contact:

Courtney Flaherty
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+1 203 905 2708

Read the survey findings on Deloitte Insights.

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