Pitney Bowes Online Shopping Study: Consumer Dissatisfaction with Holiday Shopping Experience Doubles to 60% in Four Years
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Pitney Bowes Online Shopping Study 2019 (Graphic: Business Wire)
The Study also found that the more often you shop, the more likely you are to be frustrated. Seventy-three percent of frequent online shoppers (those who shop online daily, or weekly) and 74% of millennials said they were disappointed in some aspect of the post-purchase experience last holiday season.
The top three reasons for consumer frustration are: delayed shipments; shipping costs; and inaccurate tracking.
“Despite the significant investments retailers and marketplaces are making in the online shopping experience, consumers continue to be disappointed, especially around the holidays,” said
Root Canals and Revenge
This year’s Study included a number of questions asking consumers to associate an online shopping experience with an emotion (“love it! / hate it.”), or a range of universally enjoyable, or unpleasant experiences, such as “taking a vacation” or “having a root canal.”
For example, 86% equated some aspect of a poor post-purchase experience to “having a root canal,” especially these unpleasant events:
- receiving a wrong or damaged item 72%
- taking too long to get a refund after returning an item 64%
- an inconvenient returns process 60%
- having to pay for shipping 47%
When a retailer puts a consumer through one of these unpleasant experiences, they do so to the detriment of their brand. For the second year in a row, nearly nine out of 10 consumers said that they will make a complaint or take an action that could hurt a brand’s reputation and bottom line following a bad post-purchase experience. Among them, nearly one-third said a bad post-purchase experience is cause for never shopping with the offending brand again.
On the bright side, online shoppers did offer advice to retailers and marketplaces about how they can improve the post-purchase experience, particularly around fast and free shipping, and free and easy returns.
Free shipping remains the number one loyalty driver an online retailer can offer consumers. In fact, when given the choice between “free” shipping or “fast” shipping” 80% choose “free,” consistent with data collected in each of the past three years. Free shipping was four times more likely to drive consumer loyalty than any other feature that a retailer could offer.
In addition to fast and free shipping, consumers want a free and easy returns process and fast refunds. On average,
Returns are on the rise and 51% of all online shoppers, including 66% of millennials, now admit to “bracketing” – purchasing multiple sizes, styles and colors of an item with the intent to return what they don’t want.
Seventy-two percent said they “love” when a return label is included in the package. Seventy percent said they “hate” paying for return shipping even more than missing the returns period and getting stuck with an unwanted item (61%).
“Returns seem to have become an unconscious behavior for some frequent online shoppers,” said Snyder. “In response to our survey, consumers said they return only 10% of their online purchases, but in reality we know the number is much closer to 25%.”
Sixty-six percent of consumers said they “love” home pick-up for returns. Home pick-up is three times more popular than carrier drop-off and four times more popular than in-store drop-off. When home pick-up of a return is not offered by a retailer, consumers admit to compounding the delays by taking, on average, four more days of what Snyder calls, “trunk time” to transport their item from their home to the carrier, or store.
The number of cross-border shoppers continues to grow in countries like
Of the US consumers who do shop cross-border, nine out of 10 have purchased something from
Methodology: The 2019 Pitney Bowes Online Shopping Study is based on survey results of more than 8,000 consumers globally. Unless otherwise noted, the information in this press release is based on survey results of more than 3,000 US consumers, ages 18 and up.
The Pitney Bowes Online Shopping Study is one of two annual research reports the company conducts on behalf of its clients and releases publicly. In October, the Company released its annual Parcel Shipping Index which measures parcel volume and spend across 13 major markets globally. The Index found that annual parcel volumes reached 87 billion in 2018 (17% year-over-year growth) and are projected to reach 200 billion in 2025.
- Fulfillment services with a nationwide network, automated facilities and seamlessly integrated delivery and returns;
- Standard delivery of parcels through an extensive US domestic network, leveraging the USPS® for final mile delivery;
- Cross-border delivery to 207 countries and territories with bundled quoting and compliance services; and
- Standard domestic returns services that allow retailers to offer free at-home pick-up, convenient drop-off options, and fast refunds.
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