11/29/2010 12:54:00 PM
We’ve all been there--navigating a site, filling up our shopping cart with holiday presents, clicking “checkout” in excitement, and then it hits us--a big shipping fee. Suddenly, Grandpa’s new slippers don’t seem like such a bargain. For some, the hassle of paying to get their holiday goodies shipped makes braving the lines at retailers worth it. This holiday season is no different, and the interest for free shipping among shoppers heats up every year on Google search.
Consumer interest for free shipping has been increasing for the past few years, as shown in the above graph from Insights for Search. These searches begin to rise in the fall, with interest peaking on the 19th of December. The uptick in the past few years in search of free shipping could be related to the increased popularity of online shopping coupled with smaller amounts of discretionary income for many consumers as a result of the recession.
Different online retailers have tried to combat the shipping stigma with various programs and promotions. Amazon Prime, which has members pay a $79 annual fee, allows for free 2 day shipping on anything they buy from the retailer. Walmart.com recently announced free shipping on over 60,000 products through Dec. 20th. There is also Free Shipping Day on December 17th, which boasts over 1,000 retailers promising free shipping in time for Christmas on this date.
In the past, consumers have been used to seeing free shipping for amounts ranging from $50 to $100 dollars, but the aforementioned promotions are charting relatively new territory by giving no minimum spends for free shipping. It remains to be seen if this new focus on free shipping will become an annual holiday trend or, eventually, an industry norm for all online retailers. Either way, consumers this holiday season will benefit as more retailers fight to keep consumer’s dollars in the digital shopping cart.