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Online shoppers seek free delivery

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WASHINGTON — With digital shopping on the rise, consumers are increasingly expecting free delivery of items purchased online while at the same time embracing new options such as in-store pickup of those items, according to the latest issue of the Consumer View report released this month by the National Retail Federation. Consumer View is a quarterly report that gauges consumer behavior and shopping trends.

“Consumers want free delivery, and they’re willing to meet retailers halfway to get it,” said Mark Mathews, NRF’s vice president for research development and industry analysis. “If we can get their purchase to the store, they’ll come pick it up if that’s what it takes to avoid a delivery charge. And once they’re in the store, they are very open to seeing what else the retailer has to offer. This is part of the growing evidence that consumers see retail as retail regardless of how they make their purchases and get them.”

According to the report, 75% of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free — even on orders under $50 — up from 68% a year ago.

Broken down by age groups, baby boomers demand free shipping the most, with 88% expecting it. That compares with 77% for Generation X, 61% for Millennials and 76% for Generation Z.

Many consumers now factor in shipping costs even before getting to the checkout page, with 65% saying they look up free-shipping thresholds before adding items to their online shopping carts. Consumers also want their products fast, with 39% expecting two-day shipping to be free, and 29% having backed out of a purchase because two-day shipping wasn’t free.

The survey also found that 70% of consumers who are aware of buying online and picking up in store had tried it to avoid paying for shipping.

Picking up at the cash register, the report also found, is still the most frequent practice, done by 83% of those who have bought online and picked up in-store. However, 63% would like to be able to use curbside pickup (tried so far by only 27%), 56% want merchandise delivered to the trunk of their cars (tried by 19%) and 50% want to retrieve purchases from a locker (tried by 16%).


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