Study: Consumers interested in free delivery, in-store pickups

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Study: Consumers interested in free delivery, in-store pickups

By Dan Berthiaume - 01/21/2019
Consumers have a growing interest in one particular aspect of online delivery, according to a new study from the National Retail Federation, or NRF.

According to the latest quarterly Consumer View released by the NRF, consumers increasingly expect free delivery of items they buy online. They are also embracing new options like picking up their online purchases at a local store.


The study found that 75% of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50, up from 68% a year ago. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) demand free shipping the most, with 88% expecting it. That compares with 77% for Generation X (1965-1980), 61% for millennials (1981-1994) and 76% for Generation Z (1995 and later). NRF data further indicates 65% of consumers look up free shipping thresholds before adding items to their online shopping carts.


Many consumers also want products delivered free to arrive quickly, with 39% expecting two-day shipping to be free and 29% having backed out of a purchase because two-day shipping wasn’t free.


“Consumers want free delivery, and they’re willing to meet retailers halfway to get it,” said Mark Mathews, VP for research development and industry analysis, NRF. “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.”

The study also examined consumer attitudes toward buying online and picking up in store (BOPIS) and what draws them to visit a store. Notable findings in these areas include:




  • 70% of consumers who are aware of BOPIS have tried it, with the number one reason to avoid shipping fees.

  • The most popular BOPIS practice is picking up at the cash register (83% of BOPIS users), but 63% would like to use curbside pickup (tried by 27%), 56% want deliveries to the trunk of their car (tried by 19%), and 50% want to retrieve purchases from a locker (tried by 16%).

  • 58% of consumers are interested in going to retail events.

  • 87% of consumers interested in retail events would come to a store for a sale or early/exclusive access to items, 81% for a party, 80% for a product demonstration, 71% for a game or competition, and 69% to interact with a product expert or to visit a pop-up shop.


Consumer View is a quarterly report issued by NRF that gauges consumer behavior and shopping trends. Toluna Analytics surveyed 3,002 U.S. adults 18 or older for NRF October 23 through November 30, 2018.

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