Need for Speed Trumps Sustainability When it Comes to Online Ordering: NielsenIQ 4/28/2021
I'll admit it. I'm an ecommerce snob. When I order a product online for next day delivery, if it's delayed by just one day -- even when I really don't need it that quickly -- I find myself getting angry. Meanwhile, just a couple of years ago, we all thought free two-day delivery was awesome. We've been spoiled by online ordering and delivery. And as ecommerce use increases, an increasing number of consumers are also getting spoiled, just like me, with much higher expectations when it comes to quick deliveries.
In fact, while U.S. shoppers are increasingly pledging their allegiance to sustainable products and eco-friendly lifestyles, their need for speed with online order deliveries defies those attitudes, according to insights from NielsenIQ's recent Omnibus Survey, conducted Feb. 26, 2021-March 28, 2021.
The study’s most significant findings hammer home consumers’ surging penchant for speedy delivery: 61% of the national consumer survey panelists said they would prefer to have their products delivered as quickly as possible, while 39% of online shopper panelists claimed a preference for having their product deliveries consolidated in one shipment to reduce packaging and the number of delivery trips—even if it prolongs the delivery process.
I must say I'm guilty of this mself; even if I plan to make multiple purchases on the same day, I will order each separately to avoid the potential of a delay in one product's fullfillment impacting the rest of the order.
Shoppers also adopted higher standards with faster delivery options throughout the pandemic, as evidenced by a 9% decrease in overall consideration for 2+ day delivery during the one-year timeframe, when 64% selected 2+ day delivery in September 2019 vs. 55 percent in September 2020.
Online uptick triggers shifts in fulfillment preferences and considerations
According to NielsenIQ’s Omnichannel Shopping Fundamentals Survey, same day delivery, same day pickup and next day/later pickup all gained considerable traction among shoppers throughout the pandemic, while 2+ day and next day delivery lost steam. The following breakdown reveals a closer look at the comparative figures for considerable delivery methods during the 12-month measuring period:
• 55% of shoppers considered 2+ day delivery in Sept 2020 vs. 64% in Sept 2019
• 35% of shoppers considered next day delivery in Sept 2020 vs. 37% in Sept 2019
• 27% of shoppers considered same day delivery in Sept 2020 vs. 23% in Sept 2019
• 28% of shoppers considered same day pickup in Sept 2020 vs. 20% in Sept 2019
• 27% of shoppers considered next day/later pickup in Sept 2020 vs.18% in Sept 2019
A closer look at fulfillment preferences revealed in NielsenIQ’s most recent Omnichannel Shopping Fundamentals research further solidifies a prevailing decreased interest among online shoppers for longer delivery windows, as indicated below:
• 40% of shoppers preferred 2+ day delivery in September 2020 vs. 51% of shoppers in September 2019
• 16% of shoppers preferred next day delivery in September 2020 vs. 20% of shoppers in September 2019
• 10% of shoppers preferred same day delivery in September 2020 vs. 7% of shoppers in September 2019
• 13% of shoppers preferred same day pickup in September 2020 vs. 9% of shoppers in September 2019
• 13% of shoppers preferred next day/later pickup in September 2020 vs. 6% of shoppers in September 2019
Additional telling insights about delivery preferences from NielsenIQ’s omnishopping research finds a variety of additional signs pointing to consumers’ heightened need for speed with deliveries, foremost being the 61% of online shoppers who prefer to have their products shipped as quickly as possible. However, a 20% gap exists between those who prioritize speed vs. the 39% of online shoppers who prefer to have their product deliveries consolidated to reduce packaging and the number of delivery trips, despite a prolonged delivery process.
The above trends are reflected at generally the same rates across all income segments, with a few exceptions: The larger the household, the more concerned shoppers are with faster delivery while older segments are more likely to opt for more sustainable delivery (41.4% of 65+). Additionally, households with children are more likely to opt for quick delivery (63.2%) vs. households without kids (59.8%) while Asian Americans and millennials are the most likely groups to opt for sustainable delivery, at 47.8% and 44.1%, respectively.
Increased online usage equates to increased delivery standards
Findings of NielsenIQ's Omnichannel Shopping Fundamentals Survey mirror data from a recent market study conducted by Instacart and the Harris Poll, which found that speed and convenience will be the key drivers of online grocery shoppers. When presenting its survey panelists with a slate of delivery options, including 2-hour or less delivery, 5-hour delivery and other scheduled options throughout the day, Instacart said an overwhelming 85% of customers opt for delivery in 2-hours or less. Instacart also provided a glimpse of its 2020 delivery windows and said that 95% of small orders were delivered in under two hours—50% of which were delivered in under one hour.
Whether customers opt for rapid delivery, curbside pickup, recurring trips to the store or all of the above, the future of omni-shopping will revolve around retailers’ abilities to meet consumers' needs and expectations while deepening the relationships with their customers.
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