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Logistics & Fulfilment

When it comes to delivery, consumers prefer free over fast

An overwhelming 82 per cent of Australian consumers prefer free shipping, even if delivery is slower than express options that come at a cost, which only 18 per cent prefer.

That is the finding of Pitney Bowes’ fourth annual Global Online Shopping Study, which reveals that more Australian shoppers are turning online after disappointing experiences with bricks-and-mortar stores.

According to the study, 72 per cent of Australian shoppers were unable to find a product while shopping in-store, with 19 per cent of shoppers then ordering the item online at home and 21 per cent turning to an alternative retailer or online retailer.

The shift online has lifted parcel volumes in Australia by 13 per cent from 2015-2016, according to the latest Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index.

The Australian parcel market is expected to grow to more than 1 billion parcels a year in 2021. That’s estimated growth of between 9 per cent and 12 per cent from 2017 to 2021 (CAGR).

But while many Australians are shopping online, 40 per cent have experienced challenges with their online orders during the holidays.

Top challenges with online orders in Australia included shipping tracking inaccuracies, which rose to 12 per cent from 7 per cent last year; and having items shipped to the wrong address or lost in mail which doubled to 8 per cent, from 4 per cent last year.

Despite this, Australian consumers are more likely than almost any other group to purchase items online from overseas.

Only equal to Hong Kong, 88 per cent of Australians purchased products from retailers in a different country within the last year; almost double the percentage of United States shoppers (47 per cent).

The top three reasons for shopping online cross-border were price (64 per cent), selection (42 per cent) and quality (24 per cent).

Paul Greenberg, the founder of the NORA Network and strategic advisor to Pitney Bowes in Australia, said local retailers need this kind of data to strengthen their global brand.

“The Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study shows the tremendous opportunity ahead for Australian retailers looking to embrace global shoppers,” he said.

“Australian retailers need to go global. The opportunity is here and now, and so are the increasingly valuable shipping solutions needed to be successful.”

Lila Snyder, executive vice president and president of global e-commerce and presort services at Pitney Bowes, said retailers should recognise the opportunities and challenges that cross-border shopping presents.

“With even more purchases expected to be online this holiday shopping season, retailers need to double-down on the elements of the consumer experience that matter most – delivery, returns, tracking and world-class customer service,” she said.

Other key retail trends in Australia:

  • 52 per cent of Australians surveyed said they looked at a marketplace for research, compared to only 41 per cent last year
  • 50 per cent of Australians surveyed said they look at retail websites directly for new products, down 2 per cent from last year
  • 45 per cent of purchases were made from marketplaces, a 3 percentage point increase for marketplaces over last year, compared to 55 per cent directly from retailers
  • 64 per cent of Australian online shoppers surveyed said they use click and collect, while 48 per cent have their purchases shipped to a location other than their home, such as a workplace or parcel locker
  • 42 per cent of Australians surveyed who shop cross-border are encouraged to buy from retailers that offer tracking of purchases and packages and 32 per cent from retailers that offer local delivery options


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