15 statistics that show the importance of offering free shipping

In an increasingly competitive e-commerce landscape, offering free shipping has become a strategic necessity for businesses looking to attract and retain customers. This article compiles 15 compelling statistics, drawn from reputable sources, that underscore the importance of free shipping as a pivotal factor in consumer purchasing decisions and overall satisfaction.

These statistics provide valuable insights for UK businesses considering the implementation or expansion of free shipping options.

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1. Consumer expectations

A report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) highlights that 75% of consumers now expect free shipping, even on orders under $50, up from 68% the previous year. This growing expectation underlines the need for businesses to adapt their shipping policies to meet customer demands.

2. Increased purchase likelihood

According to a survey conducted by UPS, 79% of consumers stated that free shipping makes them more likely to shop online. This statistic demonstrates the direct impact of free shipping on consumers’ shopping behaviours.

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3. Cart abandonment reduction

A study by the Baymard Institute found that high shipping costs are the top reason for cart abandonment, with 55% of consumers abandoning their carts due to shipping costs. Offering free shipping can significantly reduce cart abandonment rates.

4. Enhanced customer satisfaction

Research by ComScore indicates that free shipping not only increases the likelihood of a purchase but also enhances overall customer satisfaction, with 93% of online shoppers reporting that free shipping encourages them to make more online purchases.

5. Competitive advantage

A survey by AlixPartners revealed that 36% of consumers would choose one retailer over another if free shipping were offered, highlighting the competitive advantage free shipping can provide.

6. Increased average order value

According to a report by Red Stag Fulfillment, offering free shipping with a minimum purchase threshold can increase the average order value, with some retailers seeing increases of up to 30%.

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7. Repeat business

A study by the eCommerce Foundation found that free shipping is a key factor in securing repeat business, with 52% of consumers saying they are more likely to shop again at an online store that offers free shipping.

8. Customer loyalty

Data from a Walker Sands report shows that free shipping is more influential in building customer loyalty than fast shipping, with 80% of respondents stating that free shipping would make them more likely to shop with a brand again.

9. Word-of-mouth marketing

According to a survey by BigCommerce, free shipping is a powerful tool for word-of-mouth marketing, with 77% of consumers more likely to recommend a brand to friends if it offers free shipping.

10. Increased sales

A study by the Wharton School of Business found that offering free shipping can increase sales by up to 20%, demonstrating the significant impact of free shipping on revenue.

11. Preference over fast shipping

Research by Dotcom Distribution indicates that 60% of consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping, highlighting the primary importance of cost savings for customers.

12. Global trend

A report by Pitney Bowes on global e-commerce trends found that 62% of international consumers look for free shipping when shopping online, suggesting that free shipping is a crucial factor in global marketplaces.

13. Influence on purchase decisions

In a survey by E-tailing Group, 73% of respondents said that free shipping greatly influences their purchasing decisions, indicating the strong motivational factor free shipping offers.

14. Enhanced brand perception

A study by Marketing Land found that offering free shipping improves brand perception, with consumers viewing brands that offer free shipping as more customer-friendly and trustworthy.

15. Return customer rates

Finally, research by Endicia shows that businesses offering free shipping see a 15-20% higher rate of return customers compared to those that do not, underscoring the long-term benefits of this strategy.

These statistics make a compelling case for the importance of offering free shipping in today’s e-commerce environment. By implementing or enhancing free shipping options, UK businesses can not only meet consumer expectations but also drive sales, reduce cart abandonment, and foster customer loyalty.

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