Online shoppers prefer lower cost to speedy delivery

Online shoppers in the United States and Canada are willing to sacrifice delivery speed for a lower shipping cost, according to a recent survey by Purolator International that found that the cost of shipping was the number one priority for delivery.

The survey revealed that 76 percent of Canadian shoppers and 63 percent of U.S. shoppers who made an online purchase in the last six months identified shipping costs as very important, while 44 percent of Canadians and 32 percent of Americans said it was the most important factor.

In fact, 58 percent of U.S. shoppers and 78 percent of Canadian shoppers opted for shipping that would take four days or longer to save money. While two-thirds of shoppers in both countries said free shipping was an important part of the decision to make an online purchase, 55 percent of U.S. consumers and 65 percent of Canadians have "very often" or "always" adjusted a delivery date to get a reduced cost.

"Even in this day and age of 'I want it now,' when consumers balance cost versus convenience, they most often fall on the side of cost," said John Costanzo, president of Purolator International. "These findings represent an opportunity for U.S. retailers looking to expand their reach across the northern border, by identifying what helps to drive—or hinder—final purchase decision making." 

This news gives hopes to newly launched Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) competitor Jet.com. The online marketplace hopes to set itself apart from the e-commerce giant by offering a less expensive price rather than faster delivery.

Concerns for shipping costs went up during the holiday shopping season. According to the survey, 49 percent of U.S. shoppers and 63 percent of Canadian shoppers said they decided not to purchase a holiday item last year because of high shipping costs. In fact, 43 percent of U.S. consumers and 53 percent of Canadian consumers decided not to make a purchase because it would not be delivered in time.

However, with the hopes of still drawing more e-commerce sales through cheaper delivery prices, several retailers are implementing free shipping or reduced delivery costs in return for membership. For example, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) recently announced that it will begin offering unlimited three-day free shipping to select shoppers who pay a $50 annual fee.

For more:
-See this Purolator International survey

Related stories:
Jet launches e-commerce site with hopes of besting Amazon, Walmart
E-commerce turning to fee-based memberships
Amazon competitor Jet gets $140M in latest round of funding
Former Diapers.com CEO to open wholesale shopping club next month
Walmart's e-commerce up 17%

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