Americans plan to continue doing most of their shopping online, even as pandemic restrictions have eased and brick-and-mortar stores have reopened, according to a survey by fulfillment services company Ware2Go.
The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults showed that most plan to continue the online buying habits they adopted during the pandemic, and that free shipping and a brand’s commitment to sustainability are powerful incentives in a competitive e-commerce environment.
“The pandemic pushed people to take more of their business and shopping online, and now that shoppers have had a taste of that convenience … the bar for merchants has again been raised to compete and win,” Ware2Go CEO Steve Denton said in a statement announcing the survey’s findings. “Our research shows that shipping speed directly impacts brand loyalty and that brands have an incentive to prioritize sustainability.”
Among the findings, 79% of respondents said they increased their online shopping due to the pandemic, and 89% said they plan to do as much or more of their shopping online, even as restrictions on in-person shopping ease. What’s more, almost a third (31%) say they have an urge to spend now that Covid-19 restrictions are easing. As they do so, shoppers will prioritize retailers that offer free shipping: A third of respondents said the pandemic raised their expectations for timely shipping, and 40% said it increased their expectations for free shipping.
In addition, 80% said they are more likely to make a purchase online if the brand offers free shipping, and 75% said they are more likely to purchase if the brand offers shipping in two days or less. Nearly 80% said they are more likely to purchase from a brand again if the shipping was fast, and 69% said they are more likely to click on an ad that offers fast, free shipping.
Sustainability is also a consumer priority, with 88% of respondents listing it as an important consideration for purchasing decisions and 66% saying it has become more important since the pandemic. More than half (55%) of respondents said they are willing to pay extra for sustainable shipping and 66% said they are more likely to purchase from a brand with carbon-neutral shipping if the product and shipping costs are the same.
“When asked about what sustainable practices are most important in retailers, almost half (47%) said recycled packaging. This was followed by eco-friendly shipping protocols (41%), carrying green brands (30%), promoting conversations about sustainability on social media (30%), and partnerships with green organizations (27%),” according to the report.
Ware2Go is a UPS company. The survey was conducted in May by Propeller Insights; results were published in June.