Holiday Shoppers Want Their Gifts ‘Fast,’ According To Deloitte Study

Two weeks out from Black Friday, a new study is out from Deloitte on what consumers have planned for the shopping season.

Deloitte has released its 31st annual holiday survey of more than 5,000 U.S. consumers, who were asked about shipping, shopping, planning and procrastinating, in-store and online, as well as security around payment methods.

If anything else, speed may be of the essence, and turns out, that’s important to shoppers. Just 42 percent of shoppers consider three- to four-day shipping to be “fast.” That’s down more than 20 percentage points from last year. As for what is fast, 83 percent of consumers surveyed said that two-day shipping or quicker fits the bill as fast. Either way, these consumers want to be able to return the item without issues — 82 percent want free return shipping.

“With major online retailers finding new ways to appeal to customers’ needs, they are raising the bar on consumer expectations. Just within the past year, we’ve found a dramatic change in customers’ perception on shipping,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution practice leader. “We’re seeing this trend transcend from shipping into other retail policies, like returns, price matching and product availability. This could prove a challenge for retailers as they streamline purchasing, delivery and return cycles to appeal to a well-informed, efficiency-demanding group of consumers.”

As for when they’re planning to shop for holiday gifts, more than a third won’t start until after Thanksgiving, but more of them — 43 percent — will wait until December and even January. Despite potential procrastination, 64 percent of shoppers want to be able to order gifts online on Dec. 17 and have them arrive in time for Christmas Eve.

But are they planning ahead in terms of what to actually buy? Turns out that 86 percent say they’re planning to plan ahead and research before heading into a store, if they decide to do so. About 20 percent say they’ll just make a choice — either online or in-store — in real time, with no planning at all.

With many people wanting to shop local or find unique gifts, the study said that about 75 percent of customers say they’ll try a new retailer, but the same number says they’ll likely return to stores they know and are familiar with.

As for how they’re paying — online, in-store, with cards, by phone — there is that impending worry of breaches. While the worry is so large — more than 70 percent — it will not deter more than 93 percent of shoppers from returning to a retailer that has endured a breach.

And speaking of digital, plans to shop on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday are about even, around 50 percent.