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Consumers Concerned About Out of Stock Items and Shipping Delays — But They’re Not Changing Their Behavior

Consumers know they face potential challenges during the upcoming holiday season — but so far, they aren’t necessarily changing their behaviors to adapt to the coming crunch.

Looming supply chain issues and delivery delays are on shoppers’ minds, according to a study of more than 1,300 U.S. consumers released today by Convey by project44, the global leader in Delivery Experience Management (DEM). Convey by p44’s fifth annual holiday survey reveals that despite their concerns, the majority of consumers (57%) will start shopping at the same time or later than last year, creating a catch-22 for retailers during the most critical time of year. Key takeaways include:

Holiday warnings have yet to change consumer behavior

Shoppers, many of whom were burned last holiday with late deliveries, are aware of looming supply chain and delivery issues this season. But expectations remain high, and retailers are expected to accommodate a wide range of consumer shopping preferences.

• Consumer’s top concerns this holiday are out of stock items (50%); shipping delays (46%); high prices of goods (46%); and higher shipping costs this year than last (41%).
• However, nearly 6 out of 10 (57%) plan to start holiday shopping at the same time or later than last year — only slightly lower than 2020 (61%).
• More troubling for retailers, just 37% of consumers who will start shopping at the same time or later are willing to give retailers more than one or two extra days to deliver items.
• 71% who plan to start their shopping later this year admit that free shipping is important to them, indicating they may have unrealistic expectations in today’s environment.

Amazon Prime shapes holiday shopping

Retailers should assume that their customers shop at Amazon too — and that those shoppers bring expectations set by the online retailer’s speed and efficiency.

Eight out of 10 (79%) say their household has an Amazon Prime membership, and Prime membership rises to an astounding 89% for more affluent consumers.
Nearly 9 in 10 shoppers (87%) are likely to buy from Amazon this holiday season.
Mass merchants (Walmart, Target and Best Buy) rank a distant second at 67% followed by department stores (Nordstrom, Macy’s, Dillard’s & Kohl’s) at 34%.

Shipping should be free, fast — and on-time delivery expectations must be met

Even amidst warnings of shipping disruption and higher costs, most Americans state that free shipping (88%) and on-time delivery (88%) are important to the overall holiday shopping experience.

• According to shoppers, the three most important delivery services are: free 2-day shipping (71%); free shipping on returns (63%); and the ability to track packages en route (62%).
• Transparency is key. Most shoppers (56%) are more likely to complete a purchase if the Estimated Delivery Date (EDD) is visible in the shopping cart.
• Almost all consumers (98%) want retailers to notify them if their delivery will be late. Most (76%) prefer direct notification via email or text message.
• Nearly seven in 10 (67%) say they won’t shop with a brand again after a poor delivery experience.

Same-day delivery options poised for growth

The ability to order online and receive the item that day is important to shoppers, particularly younger ones.

• 42% say that ordering online for same-day store pickup is important. This number rises to 54% of younger shoppers (defined as age 18-29).
• 36% of respondents say that ordering online for same-day home delivery is important. This number rises to 48% of younger shoppers.

“Shoppers are going to put retailers to the test this year, despite awareness of the challenges sellers face,” said Carson Krieg, Director of Industry Solutions and Strategy at Convey by project44. “Free, fast, on-time delivery is the expectation, thanks to Amazon’s dominant influence on retail. This year’s survey reveals that transparency on pricing, estimated delivery dates, and shipment delays is of utmost importance for sellers to remain competitive.”
Source: Convey by project44

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