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Free Shipping Worth Waiting For

Jul 1, 2012

Online shoppers want free shipping, even if it means their packages take longer to arrive, and are less concerned about sales tax, according to a recent study by research and consulting firm AlixPartners LLP. Seventy-five percent of consumers said they were willing to wait at least five days for an ecommerce order to arrive if the shipping were free, including 50 percent who said they would wait a full week. Another 12 percent of consumers said they would only wait four days for an order shipped free; nine percent would wait up to three days, and four percent up to two. When asked the main reasons they do not make online purchases, 36 percent of consumers cited shipping costs. Making shipping costs the second most common reason consumers balk at buying online, only slightly behind the 37 percent who prefer to see and touch an item in person before purchasing.

The AlixPartners Home-Delivery Shopping Survey, which polled 1,000 adults nationwide between March 22 and 25, found that free shipping has a bigger effect on consumers' online shopping behaviors than the inclusion of sales tax. Fifty-nine percent said sales tax would reduce their likelihood to buy online. That breaks down into 21 percent of respondents saying paying sales tax would "greatly reduce" their online purchases, 38 percent would "somewhat reduce" purchases, and 41 percent of all respondents said it would have no effect. The following are reasons besides shipping costs and sales tax why consumers prefer not to shop online, including the percentage of consumers citing each among their top three reasons not to buy online:

  • Difficulty returning an item: 20%.
  • Potential for purchases to be lost or damaged in transit: 17%.
  • Concerns about getting the right item delivered: 13%.
  • Difficulty getting an item into the house once delivered: 10%.
  • Delivery times are too long: 10%.
  • Cannot track item while in transit: 3%.
  • Need but cannot get guarantee weekend delivery: 3%.

This story was adapted from an article on

Topic: Product Trends

Related Articles: Online  Shoppers  Free  Shipping 

Article ID: 1613

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