Holiday Storms No Match for Prepared Shoppers

This year, holiday shoppers aren't taking any chances when it comes to ensuring their holiday packages arrive on time. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Pitney Bowes Inc., nearly half of Americans (49 percent) plan to shop online earlier for gifts this holiday season. The main reason for this decision is to make sure they receive their packages on time (63 percent). 

"Last year, holiday shipping challenges stemmed from a perfect storm of record-breaking weather combined with over-promises to deliver orders on time and a last-minute shipping surge," said Christoph Stehmann, president, Ecommerce and Shipping Solutions, Pitney Bowes. "To help capture holiday sales this year and meet customer expectations, retailers should prepare well in advance for the unexpected, and provide real-time visibility on shipping packages and reliable delivery estimates." 

Shipping remains one of the most important factors in the overall shopping experience (70 percent of respondents said) and more one-third of shoppers plan on paying more attention to shipping this year than they did in 2013. 

The survey also showed that 82 percent of Americans find free shipping where the product arrives in 5-7 days more attractive, while 17 percent prefer fast shipping where the product arrives in one to two business days for a fee. Pitney Bowes advises retailers to consider offering free shipping as a delivery option well in advance of the holidays since this could mean that many Americans will be shopping even earlier this year.