Standard Shipping or Expedited Shipping: Which Do Customers Prefer?

ShipEngine’s main goal is to provide businesses with a simple way to grow shipping functionality and save on shipping and fulfillment costs. ShipEngine wants to provide you with the insight, integrations, and features you need to offer a better shipping experience to your customers. This is why ShipEngine has partnered with Retail Economics to survey over 8,000 consumers and hundreds of merchants from around the globe: to get a pulse on the current demands of shipping and ecommerce. We encourage you to read our findings, but we also wanted to focus on some key points. 

Consumers are increasingly cost-conscious and, as a result, are pivoting more towards free shipping options. While this has long been the preference, this push towards affordability also brings with it lowered expectations of delivery time. Two-day delivery windows that you find with services like Amazon Prime are no longer the gold standard. In fact, standard shipping has become the new standard! Understanding which delivery options and shipping services are most popular leads to more customers checking out and higher satisfaction. 

Scaling Up: How to Meet Consumers’ Growing Expectations

Click here to download the full report

Inflation Is Shaping Shopping

Of the $310 billion dollars in global inflation projected to impact consumer spending in 2023, $210 billion of that is expected to hit American wallets. This is causing 66% of Americans to change their spending habits this year. The important thing to note about this, though, is that Americans are not shopping less. They may be spending less, but shoppers are in fact shopping around more. This change in consumer behavior speaks to customers looking for better deals and becoming smarter about what they want to buy. 

Shipping Costs: The Major Concern

In our research, we found that 41% of consumers consider cost to be the most important delivery factor. This remains the highest concern year over year from 2022—increasing by 8%. While speed of delivery also remains the second highest concern from last year, it has decreased in importance since 2022. Factors such as inflation and stabilized supply chains have led to these more fortified consumer preferences. Additionally, we found that 60.9% say that high shipping costs make them less likely to shop with a brand. Shoppers are getting smarter. 

Standard Delivery Transit Time Preferences

On average, 34% of consumers are willing to wait 3–4 days for standard delivery. Unlike other preferences, this delivery timeframe is consistent across generations from Gen Z to Baby Boomers. This is due in part to the reset consumers had from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing supply chain delays.

Because shoppers no longer have to buy the moment they find an in-stock item, they can shop around a little more. Additionally, buyers don’t have to worry about fulfillment and delivery delays, so patience around shipping speeds have cooled. The other side to this is that consumers also started shopping from a greater variety of stores than they had previously. As a result, providing affordable shipping has become increasingly important for merchants looking to have the edge over other retailers. But it’s worth noting that, as mentioned above, delivery speed is still a big deciding factor for many shoppers. 

Expedited Delivery Still Matters

While standard delivery options are increasingly popular, many customers are still willing to shell out for expedited delivery. When a customer expects an express shipping option, you have to deliver. Moreover, 28% of consumers still expect standard delivery to arrive within 2 days. Additionally, 22% of shoppers still consider speed of delivery to be the biggest factor when choosing a delivery option from a retailer. Finding the line between affordability and speed isn’t as tough as you might think, though. Many services such as UPS® Ground, USPS Priority Mail®, and others can arrive within this 2-day window. 

Affordable Shipping, No Matter What

ShipEngine is dedicated to providing convenient carrier integrations and APIs you need to make shipping, logistics, and fulfillment simpler. One way we do this is through our USPS discounts up to 89% off and  UPS discounts of up to 84% provided for all companies leveraging our APIs. With ShipEngine, you can provide a full range of standard and express shipping services for your customers. Best of all, the discounted shipping rates we provide allow you to pass savings on to your customers. 

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