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‘Potentially unreliable’ shipping worries online shoppers 

Majority of Blue Yonder survey respondents still will make most of their holiday purchases online

Online holiday shopping prevails despite concerns about delivery reliability (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Despite concerns over the reliability of parcel delivery performance, most holiday shoppers will order online for the majority of their holiday purchases, according to a survey published Wednesday by technology company Blue Yonder.

The survey of approximately 1,300 U.S. consumers found that 48% believe delivery estimates to be “potentially unreliable.” About 38% said they worry their packages will be damaged en route. 

About half said that placing orders by Dec. 15 will ensure their orders arrive by Christmas. Slightly more than half expected their orders to arrive two to four days after placing them. Nearly 40% expected the arrival window to be five to seven days after placing an order.

Still, 59% said they planned to complete most of their holiday transactions using some form of online commerce.

About 38% said they favored in-store shopping over online shopping this holiday due to more flexible in-store return options. About 35% said that returns were an important consideration in choosing to shop in stores.

Slightly less than half said they would not pay for expedited shipping to rush parcels to their destinations, preferring instead to order and ship well ahead of parcel carriers’ peak delivery deadlines, the survey found. The reluctance to wait and then pay for fast shipping was most pronounced among baby boomers.


Only 13% were willing to pay between $11 and $20 for rush shipping, while 37% said they would consider paying between $5 and $10, according to the survey.

As usual, consumers don’t want to be inconvenienced over the holidays. About 45% said they would select a buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) option only if the pickup location was convenient for them.

Shannon Wu-Lebron, corporate vice president of global retail industry strategy at Blue Yonder, said consumers appear to be less enamored with online shopping and deliveries during the holiday season when reliable shipping is critical.

“The survey results suggest that online shopping may be waning in popularity for higher-stakes purchases,” said Wu-Lebron. “Whether through delays or damaged goods, consumers’ negative experiences with home shopping are powerful enough to drive them back into stores, which unlocks valuable opportunities for retailers.”

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.