Scooter and trucks Photo: DHL

DHL: E-commerce expected to increase over the holidays

Survey of customer base also finds on-time delivery becoming an especially critical metric.

To better understand U.S. business trends and challenges this holiday season, DHL conducted a survey of more than 100,000 customers and received more than 1,400 responses detailing critical concerns regarding shipping needs.

Key findings from DHL’s poll include:

  • The holiday season has become a “prime revenue opportunity” for businesses leveraging e-commerce to target international markets, with 45% of respondents saying they expect an increase in e-commerce sales of at least 10%.
  • But thought U.S. businesses are seeing an uptick in e-commerce sales, 84% of those responding to DHL’s survey said they are not planning to hire temporary staff during the holiday season.
  • Nearly 47% of respondents said fulfilling shipment orders on time was their biggest challenge during the holiday season.
  • All respondents placed a high priority on on-time shipping, as evidenced by the potential tradeoffs they would make to ensure it happened: 27% would rather get a root canal than have personal holiday shipments come late; 23% would rather spend the weekend with their in-laws; and 19% would rather tell their kids that Santa isn’t real.

A related survey conducted by cloud computing provider Kibo of 3,000 U.S. consumers reinforced the outlook that e-commerce activity will jump this holiday season.

According to its Holiday Consumer Trends Report: 2017 Edition, 58% of those consumers polled said they’ll rely on the buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) fulfillment option this holiday shopping season – an increase of 25% over last year.

Other findings highlighted by Kibo’s study include:

  • Over half of shoppers (54%) said they use online inventory information to justify a trip to a store during the holidays.
  • Consumers’ reasons for using BOPIS during the holiday include saving on shipping costs (66%), saving time while in-store (53%), and getting the product when it’s convenient (39%).
  • 70% of shoppers have the expectation of receiving free shipping during the holidays, a clear influence of Amazon Prime.
  • 67% of shoppers expect free shipping when gifts are returned, and 65% expect to be able to return an online purchase to a store.

“It’s clear that consumer expectations for this holiday season are as high as ever, and retailers need to prepare by providing connected and seamless experiences across online and physical channels,” noted Tushar Patel, Kibo’s chief marketing officer, in a statement.

“BOPIS fulfillment and accessible inventory information are going to take center stage this season for the seemingly obvious reasons of saving busy holiday shoppers time and money,” he said. “The benefits of that will continue beyond the holiday season, as consumers fall back into more normal shopping behaviors. No shopper wants be ‘haunted’ for the next six months by the doll they purchased for their niece at Christmas.”

TAGS: News Economics
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