|[October 24, 2018]
Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study Finds We Are Shopping Online More Frequently and Frustrated More Often
Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI), a global technology company that provides
commerce solutions in the areas of ecommerce, shipping, mailing, and
data, today published key findings from the 2018
Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study. As online retailers and
marketplaces prepare for record volumes of ecommerce orders this holiday
season, the study found that 61% of consumers globally felt let down by
their online shopping experience during the last holiday season. This
figure is up significantly from 47% in 2017, and 41% in 2016. In the US,
the rate of dissatisfied online shoppers is accelerating even faster
with 56% dissatisfied, up from just 36% a year ago.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:
2018 Pitney Bowes Ecommerce Study
Consumers pointed to post-purchase experiences, including items arriving
late, expensive shipping, tracking inaccuracies, confusing returns
policies, and lost or incorrect items as reasons for their
"More and more, consumers are telling us that the post-purchase
experience - what happens after the order - is every bit as important,
if not more, than the shopping experience that occurs before the order,"
said Lila Snyder, President of Commerce Services at Pitney Bowes. "The
silver lining for retailers: consumers are giving you the blueprint for
how to get it right, and those who get it right will be rewarded with
customer loyalty and revenue growth."
Despite frustrations, consumers are shopping online more frequently
Nearly everyone is shopping online - 94% of consumers globally;
unchanged year-over-year. But, the frequency with which consumers shop
online is accelerating. Globally, 35% of online shoppers make an online
purchase at least weekly. In the US, 30% make an online purchase at
least weekly, up from just 19% a year ago. The UK saw their rate of
weekly online shoppers rise to 46%, up from 38% the year prior.
Snyder says the uptick in shopping frequency, while welcome news for
retailers, is also contributing to the rise in consumer dissatisfaction.
"Individual consumers are spending more time shopping online and waiting
on products, creating a greater probability for a bad experience," she
said. "As volumes rise, retailers are struggling to keep up with the
demand in terms of physical infrastructure and the technology to manage
Fast and free shipping are table stakes for online retailers
The study shows that consumers start to make judgements on the
post-purchase experience even before placing their orders. In fact, 91%
of online shoppers in the US said thy will leave a retail web site if
critical services like "fast and free shipping" are not available. At
the same time, consumers are becoming more demanding in their
expectations for "fast and free." Only 47% consider 2-day free shipping
"If there is one finding for retailers to pay attention to, it's this
one: fast and free shipping is a must," said Snyder. "Retailers invest
millions of dollars in marketing to drive consumers to their ecommerce
sites, but all of that expense and effort is for naught if they don't
also invest in attractive fast and free shipping offers that meet
Consumers still rank "free shipping" as more important than "fast
shipping." Globally, 76% of consumers prefer "free" over "fast." In the
US, however, the trend is starting to reverse, with 79% preferring
"free" over "fast," down from 86% the year prior. This reversal is
mostly driven by millennials, with 35% willing to pay for fast shipping,
up from 20% the year prior.
In the US, online shoppers list free shipping (80%) and fast shipping
(66%) as the two most important criteria in determining where to shop
online. Two-thirds of online shoppers in the US think it is acceptable
to have a minimum purchase requirement of $25 or higher to trigger free
A bad post-purchase experience can cost retailers multiple customers
According to the study, 90% of online shoppers in the US will take an
action that can hurt a retailer's brand in response to a bad
post-purchase experience. Their reactions range from sharing their
frustrations on social media to never purchasing from the offending site
again. Among millennials, 30% will go public about their poor
experience, complaining in an online review or social media post,
potentially affecting the buying decisions of their entire social
The importance of the post-purchase experience voiced loud and clear by
consumers was further validated by the results of retailer surveys.
Successful high-growth retailers (25% or greater YoY revenue growth)
place a greater emphasis on the post-purchase consumer experience than
their slower growth competitors. This includes providing services like
free returns and day-definite guaranteed delivery. 54% of high-growth
retailers offer 2-3 day free shipping, while 60% of low-growth retailers
(10% or less YoY revenue growth) offer 4-7 day free shipping.
High-growth retailers also tend to meet or exceed consumer demands for
accurate, real-time tracking, free and fast shipping, easy returns with
preprinted labels, prompt refunds and even attractive branded packaging.
One trend that may be influencing expectations around quality of
packaging is the growth of subscription box services. 27% of online
shoppers are subscribed to at least one such service, including 51% of
millennials and 47% of households with children.
"Successful high-growth retailers and brands not only exceed their
customers' expectations on the post-purchase experience, but they
leverage every consumer touchpoint to build brand awareness, further
strengthening customer loyalty," said Snyder.
In the battleground for consumer attention, the study found that
marketplaces continue to soak up 60% of online purchases, but it also
found opportunity for retailers who invest in their brand and delight
consumers throughout the shopping and post-purchase experience. 61% of
online shopping occurs when the consumer knows specifically what brand
they're looking to buy. In these cases, more than half (54%) prefer to
buy from a retailer website over an online marketplace. This presents an
opportunity for brands and retailers to build customer loyalty and trust
by repeatedly delivering exceptional post-purchase experiences.
The same rules apply for cross-border shopping
The cross-border ecommerce market continues to mature. For the first
time, fewer consumers said they were shopping cross-border, dropping
from 70% in 2017 to 64% in 2018. The US, China and Japan were the only
countries where the number of cross-border shoppers increased in 2018.
Still, the market continues to grow, because those who are shopping
cross-border are doing so more frequently. This was true in nearly every
country we surveyed, and 12% of consumers globally are now shopping
cross-border at least weekly, up from 10% in 2017.
Consistent with the results of the study, frustrations with shopping
cross-border can be attributed primarily to shipping that is too slow,
or too expensive. Other frustrations include the inconvenience of
returning unwanted items and poor customer service.
The 2018 Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study is based on surveys of more
than 13,000 consumers in 12 markets, combined with surveys of 650
retailers in the US, UK and Australia. The report is intended to help
guide retailers and marketplaces in their investment decisions and
For more information on the study including an interactive map and
infographic, please visit The
2018 Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study.
About Pitney Bowes
Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) is a global technology company providing
commerce solutions that power billions of transactions. Clients around
the world, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500, rely on the accuracy
and precision delivered by Pitney Bowes solutions, analytics, and APIs
in the areas of ecommerce fulfillment, shipping and returns;
cross-border ecommerce; presort services; office mailing and shipping;
location data; and software. For nearly 100 years Pitney Bowes has been
innovating and delivering technologies that remove the complexity of
getting commerce transactions precisely right. For additional
information visit Pitney Bowes, the Craftsmen of Commerce, at https://www.pitneybowes.com/us.
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