Consumers Pivot to Online Pickup as Delivery Fees Rise

pickup in store sign

At the end of the day, consumers love conveniences that can make their lives incrementally easier, whether it’s the control and speed of self-checkout or the cut-down cooking times of ready-made meals. The high rate of buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) use in the United States, tracked in “The 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index,” a PYMNTS collaboration with Cybersource, fits right in with U.S. consumers’ willingness to try many life hacks or other shortcuts.

pickup economy

Of the six countries surveyed for the Index, the U.S. BOPIS growth rate was highest from 2021 to 2022. The U.S. also has the highest share of consumers using BOPIS to receive their latest eCommerce purchase for the second year running; 23% of shoppers used it in 2021, and 32% did so in 2022. This consumer love for BOPIS was similarly reflected last month (July 14) in The Wall Street Journal, which noted shopper benefits that included the convenience of curbside for parents seeking to pick up last-minute groceries in a car with children. Benefits also extended as well as an easier ability to stick to budgets and avoid impulse purchases. For merchants and retailers, having customers pick up their own merchandise cuts down on fulfillment costs and may allow a more streamlined way of getting shoppers their items through trends such as “micro-fulfillment.”

As a sector, grocers in particular have driven the availability of BOPIS availability as they vie for customer dollars in an ultra-competitive space where trading down rules consumers’ mindsets and more traditional sector players integrate some level of eCommerce into their sales strategies. While consumers across demographics have embraced the convenience of grocery shopping this way, some are more likely than others to favor BOPIS or curbside pickup. Driven by motivators such as a busier lifestyle due to working while having a side hustle or caring for kids, 45% of men and 36% of women in the U.S. buying groceries online opt for curbside pickup, with 43% of men and 30% of women opting for BOPIS.

Beyond convenience, another motivator behind BOPIS’ consumer popularity may be due to increased shipping costs, as merchants have begun either removing free shipping as an option or raising the minimum spend needed to qualify. Given these parameters, consumers seeking to cut extra costs may easily be skipping delivery charges by opting for BOPIS or curbside pickup as a convenient “middle ground” between delivery and in-store shopping.

Consumers have made clear that for certain retail sectors especially, the convenience BOPIS offers is one they refuse to give up. Merchants and retailers not offering the option may risk these customers looking for a competitor that does.