Free shipping beats fast shipping for most shoppers this holiday season. According to Deloitte's 32nd annual holiday survey, 88% of consumers say free shipping is most important, which far outranks fast shipping, chosen as a priority by only 12% of respondents.
When asked what defines "fast shipping," 54% of respondents said two days or less. Only 35% of consumers consider three- to four-day shipping as fast, down from 42% last year and 63% in 2015.
And while shoppers want their purchases fast, they are not necessarily willing to pay for it, as 64% said they would not pay extra for two-day shipping. Consumers would pay a maximum of $3.80 to get next-day delivery on an item. And 65% of shoppers say they should still get free shipping after Dec. 17.
As fast and free remain a priority, 43% of consumers plan to buy items online and pick them up in-store. More specifically, saving on shipping charges got 62% of the vote and getting the item faster got 48% of the vote as to why consumers chose BOPIS.
Today's omnichannel holiday shopper wants the assurance of a flexible return policy. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed want a flexible return policy, and 63% want a refund option other than store credit. Over the holidays, more than half of respondents want a longer return window, ranging above the 30-day mark.