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How Important Are Free and Expedited Shipping to Shoppers?

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Most consumers say free shipping is the most important option an e-commerce site should provide during checkout, according to recent research from UPS.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in 2017 among 5,000 online shoppers in the United States.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers say free shipping is one of the most important options/features that should be provided when checking out online; displaying clear shipping costs early ranks second (53% of consumers cite it as important).

Although still very important, the value of of free shipping has declined somewhat over time: In 2014 some 81% of consumers ranked it as one of the most important checkout options.


Some 94% of consumers say they have taken an action on an e-commerce site to qualify for free shipping.

The most common actions taken to qualify for free shipping are adding additional items to a cart (48% of consumers have done so), selecting the slowest transit time (44%), and searching online for a free shipping promo code (41%).

Three-quarters of consumers say they are willing to pay a premium for expedited shipping in some situations.

Consumers say they are willing to pay extra for faster delivery when they personally need the shipment quickly (37% of respondents would), when they're ordering a gift that must arrive by a certain date (36%), and/or when they've waited too long and don't have other options (27%).

Some 64% of consumers say they expect orders placed by 5 PM to qualify for next-day delivery; 61% expect orders placed before noon to qualify for same-day delivery.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted in 2017 among 5,000 online shoppers in the United States.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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