DHL survey: customers demand flexibility to change delivery option last minute

DHL eCommerce has completed a new Global Online Shopper Survey for 2023 and published a recent European Report. To gain profound insights into their e-commerce purchasing patterns, shoppers were surveyed from ten countries across Europe and, for the first time, from 13 countries across the globe. The Online Shopper Surveys offer insights into where and why they shop cross-border, what they buy and spend, their attitudes to delivery and returns, and why sustainability matters to online shoppers worldwide. Major global markets within Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, and China are covered.

The main headline-making takeaway from DHL eCommerce’s latest Global Online Shopper Survey is that 95% of shoppers say they abandon a purchase if their 1st choice delivery method is unavailable

Other findings:

  • DHL eCommerce publishes its first Global Online Shopper Survey covering major global markets within Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and China
  • The preference for out-of-home delivery continues to grow, especially in Europe, with 72% of shoppers demanding the flexibility to change the delivery option last minute
  • Seven in ten shoppers worldwide use social media for inspiration, with Facebook and Instagram leading the way
  • 70% of customers see sustainable delivery options as necessary, and 49% would even accept longer delivery times in this context, but only 28% would pay more

“Our latest Online Shopper Survey results indicate that delivery flexibility and transparency are crucial for customers. But sustainability is also becoming increasingly important, with almost half the customers willing to accept longer delivery times. However, the willingness to pay more is still relatively low at 28% – but we are convinced that this will also change with the growing number of sustainable delivery options and solutions. Our report provides many more valuable insights into what online retailers need to pay attention to to ensure customer happiness. And how successful customer journeys can be achieved,” says Pablo Ciano, CEO of DHL eCommerce.

Flexibility and plannability are key

Flexible delivery options are vital for online shoppers. 95% of shoppers around the globe report they have abandoned a purchase in the past because a preferred delivery option, such as home delivery or the ability to ship to parcel lockers or parcel shops, wasn’t available. The same goes for consumers in Europe. 90% of European shoppers say they didn’t complete an online order because the goods couldn’t be delivered to a location or a time that suited them.

Also crucial for customers is the option to re-direct their deliveries at the last minute. 75% of global shoppers and 72% of Europeans want the flexibility of ensuring their parcel is delivered to another safe place when they’re not at home.

Around two-thirds of European online shoppers want to know what delivery company handles their parcels before placing an order. 43% would even abandon their cart if they didn’t like the delivery provider offered. When looking at consumers around the world, a similar picture emerges. 70% say knowing about the delivery company is very important, and 43% would cancel an online purchase if they didn’t trust the delivery partner. The number in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa even rises to 61%. In summary, a range of delivery options plays a crucial role for online shoppers in Europe and around the world.

Source: DHL Europe report

Social media shopping and subscription services are on the rise

Social media channels are becoming increasingly important as a sales channel for retailers. Seven out of ten shoppers worldwide use social media for shopping inspiration. China and Thailand lead the ranking regarding social media shopping. More than half of the respondents say they regularly shop on social media platforms, versus a global average of 28%. In Europe, 48% of customers have purchased via social media in the past, with Facebook and Instagram being the lead channels. However, TikTok is noticeably gaining ground here, and the popularity of streaming videos makes YouTube an essential player in the social media sales market, too.

Also on the rise are subscription services. 31% of Europeans say they have at least one subscription with an online retailer, with beauty and food subscriptions being the most popular. Across the globe, 36% of shoppers have a subscription service to an online retailer. Beauty products are the No. 1 subscription, followed by food and clothing.

Shoppers want to go green and 49% would even accept longer delivery times

Sustainability continues to be an essential aspect for online shoppers. 64% of Europeans say that shopping online sustainably is vital to them. Still, only one in five are willing to pay extra for a greener delivery – expecting retailers to pay for the additional costs. However, 49% of European customers are prepared to accept longer delivery times if that means that the delivery is more sustainable. Viewed globally, a similar picture appears. More than 70% of respondents say that sustainability is important to them when they shop online, and almost half would be prepared to wait longer for their deliveries. But, given a choice, only 28% see fit to pay more for a more sustainable delivery.

Customers enjoy a variety of payment options

E-commerce retailers offer a variety of payment options. 85% of European online shoppers and 85% of global shoppers are satisfied with the payment options offered at checkout. Credit or debit cards and digital wallets like PayPal are still popular. However, BNPL (buy now, pay later) options are rising in Europe, particularly in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria. At the same time, Cash on Delivery still plays an integral part in large parts of the world, such as the MENA region (32%), the Czech Republic (22%) and Italy (15%).

The DHL Online Shopper Survey 2023 provides insights into the global e-commerce industry, specific markets, and consumer preferences. DHL eCommerce commissioned the study to understand better consumers’ online shopping habits across Europe and the globe. The global survey took place across 13 international markets (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, and USA), plus 10 European countries, and involved 11,500 participants. The European survey delves into ten vital European markets (UK, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Netherlands, Italy, Czech Republic, and Austria) and features insights from 5,000 European shoppers.

The DHL Online Shopper Survey 2023 is available for free download at:

Source: DHL

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