Consumers willing to pay premium for fast, precise peak deliveries

More than half of the 1,000 U.S. consumers responding to a survey about peak-season delivery behavior said they would be willing to pay up to a $9 per-package premium to receive same-day or next-day deliveries, as well as deliveries made during a specific day and time slot.

The survey also found that U.S. respondents were more concerned about package loss and theft than they were about late or missed deliveries. In response, about 39% of 2,000 global merchants — most of them based in the U.S. — said they planned to begin using shipping insurance this holiday, either by buying it before shipping their products or making an insurance option available to customers before they order.

Nationally, 49 million Americans have had at least one package stolen in the past 12 months, according to an August study by The prevalence of victims ranged from a high of 29% in Alaska to a low of 12% in Maine. The median value of stolen merchandise was $50, with state-specific averages varying from $30 in Arizona to $80 in Alaska.

The survey, conducted in July by shipping platform ShipStation, canvassed 8,000 customers worldwide. The report found that 3 in 4 consumers surveyed globally planned to decrease their spending over the holiday season, up from 58% last year. 

However, shoppers in the U.S. are the most likely to spend, with two-thirds of shoppers surveyed planning to either spend the same or more than they did last year. About 22% of U.S. consumers plan to spend more this year than they did in 2022.

The research shows a link between consumers’ intention to cut back on holiday shopping and their inclination to shop early. About 41% of surveyed U.S. holiday shoppers reported they would begin their holiday shopping before October. 

ShipStation recommended that merchants use this shift as an opportunity to get strategic with holiday promotions. One in 4 surveyed merchants already intend to increase their holiday promotion frequency this year, with the same proportion planning to launch promotions before October.

The survey found that the influence of shipping costs has diminished ahead of the holidays. Globally, surveyed consumers have an increased interest in delivery speed, parcel visibility and flexible returns, while interest in delivery costs has decreased. About half of surveyed shoppers expect an online purchase to arrive within two days during the holiday season, rising to as high as 62% in the U.S. 

ShipStation said its research underscores the pivotal role online marketplaces may play this holiday season. It found that around one in every two online orders made over the holidays is expected to be through an online marketplace and that online marketplaces are estimated to account for $253 billion of global sales during the holidays.

The survey estimated that fourth-quarter U.S. online sales will total $178 billion.

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Editor: Mark Solomon