88% of shoppers prefer free to fast shipping this holiday season

Most U.S. adults plan to holiday shop in store, 94 percent, and online, 92 percent. Of those choosing e-commerce, 49 percent will make purchases from a mobile device and 94 percent from a computer, according to the 2015 Holiday Shopping Survey by Pitney Bowes.

Shipping is important for 93 percent of consumers, a 23 percent increase from last holiday season. In fact, 88 percent of respondents preferred free shipping in five to seven days over paying to get items delivered in one to two days.

Three out of five shoppers are willing to increase their basket size in order to qualify for free shipping, while 68 percent have previously used a promotional code to receive a shipping discount. Coupons are also a big driver, as 80 percent of respondents said they'd be more willing to purchase online with a promotional code.

 

     View full Pitney Bowes Holiday Shopping Survey infographic here.

Free shipping is a huge draw for shoppers any time of the year and has skyrocketed Amazon Prime's (NASDAQ:AMZN) success. In July, the e-retailer reached 44 million Prime members, adding 3 million in just the three months prior. Due to the popularity and competition, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced a test last spring of an unlimited, free shipping membership service.

However, free shipping can be a costly option for retailers. Earlier this month Amazon announced a pullback on its free, two-day shipping option for all Prime members.

According to the study, sales are a big draw for online shoppers during the season. Sixty-one percent of respondents are more willing to shop during a sale, and 39 percent are more willing to shop with retailers who offer a membership that offers faster and cheaper shipping.

When it comes to returns, 39 percent of those surveyed prefer to return to a store. When returning by mail, 38 percent prefer returning packages via a shipping provider while one in five shoppers prefer to have a courier pick up a package.

"Options are no longer a privilege during the shopping experience. This holiday season consumers will expect the ability to choose their preference," said Christoph Stehmann, COO of digital commerce solutions, Pitney Bowes. "Retailers must focus on offering diverse options—whether for shopping channel, shipping and return methods, or even promotional offers—in order to attract consumers throughout their shopping experiences."

For more:
-See this Pitney Bowes press release

Related stories:
Amazon limits free, two-day shipping
Amazon expands Prime Now to Seattle, delivers booze
Amazon Prime Now expands into Chicago
Amazon, Manhattan eateries partner for one-hour delivery
Amazon Fresh now delivering in parts of New Jersey
 

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