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Of consumers polled by NielsenIQ, 61% preferred to have products ordered online delivered as quickly as possible.

U.S. online shoppers exhibit need for speed

Over 60% want orders delivered or ready for pickup ASAP, NielsenIQ survey shows

When it comes to home delivery, U.S. online shoppers clearly favor speed, the latest NielsenIQ omnibus poll finds.

Same-day delivery, same-day pickup and next-day/later pickup all gained traction among online consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas two-day and next-day delivery lost interest, according to NielsenIQ’s Omnichannel Shopping Fundamentals Survey, conducted Feb. 26 to March 28.

Twenty-seven percent of shoppers polled considered same-day delivery in September 2020, up from 23% in September 2019, NielsenIQ reported. And on the click-and-collect side, 28% opted for same-day pickup in Sept. 2020 versus 20% a year earlier, and 27% of shoppers considered next-day or later pickup in September 2020 against 18% in the prior-year period.

Along the same lines, 55% of customers chose two-day or more delivery in September 2020, compared with 64% in September 2019. Next-day delivery also declined in those time periods, to 35% from 37% of consumers.

“The study’s most significant findings hammer home consumers’ surging penchant for speedy delivery,” Chicago-based NielsenIQ explained. “Sixty-one percent of the national consumer survey panelists said they would prefer to have their products delivered as quickly as possible, while 39% of online shopper panelists claimed a preference for having their product deliveries consolidated in one shipment to reduce packaging and the number of delivery trips — even if it prolongs the delivery process.”

NielsenIQ research also captured online shoppers’ declining interest in longer delivery and pickup windows. For example, 10% of consumers surveyed preferred same-day delivery in September 2020 versus 7% of shoppers in September 2019, while 13% favored same-day pickup in September 2020 compared with 9% of shoppers a year earlier.

Likewise in September 2020, 40% of online customers preferred two-day or more delivery (vs. 51% a year earlier), 16% favored next day delivery (vs. 20% a year earlier) and 13% opted for next-day/later pickup (vs. 6% a year earlier).

In general, the preference trends held at the same rates across consumer demographics and income segments, but with some exceptions, NielsenIQ noted. The bigger the household, the more concerned shoppers were with faster delivery, as 63.2% of homes with children favored quick delivery versus 59.8% of households without kids. Also, Asian-Americans (47.8%), Millennials (44.1%) and seniors (41.4%) were more apt to opt for more sustainable delivery.

NielsenIQ added that research from its Omnichannel Shopping Fundamentals Survey reflect some findings from a recent online grocery market study by Instacart and Harris Poll. Among two-hour or less, five-hour and other delivery time options presented to customers in the survey, Instacart reported that 85% opted for delivery in two hours or less. Instacart also said  95% of small orders were delivered in less than two hours, and 50% were delivered in less than an hour.

“Whether customers opt for rapid delivery, curbside pickup, recurring trips to the store or all of the above,” NielsenIQ stated, “the future of omni-shopping will revolve around retailers’ abilities to meet consumers’ needs and expectations while deepening the relationships with their customers.”

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