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Online Shoppers in US and Canada Choose Lower Shipping Cost Over Delivery Speed

According to a recent survey conducted by shipping company, Purolator International, online shoppers in Canada and the U.S. are willing to sacrifice delivery speed for a lower shipping cost.

The survey found that most shoppers chose a longer delivery for their online purchases; 78 percent of Canadians and 58 percent of Americans picked the option that took four days or longer. A majority of shoppers from both countries (65 percent Canadian, 55 percent American) said they have “very often” or “always” changed their delivery date to a longer period in order to receive a reduced cost. Thirty-seven percent of Canadians and 28 percent of Americans responded that the availability of an economical delivery option with a longer delivery time was very important to them. Two-thirds of consumers in both countries said a free shipping option was also very important in purchase decision-making.

The study also revealed that the cost of shipping was identified most often as the most important concern. Seventy-six percent of Canadian consumers who made a purchase online from a U.S. retailer within the last six months, and 63 percent of U.S. online shoppers identified shipping costs as very important.

“Even in this day and age of ‘I want it now,’ when consumers balance cost versus convenience, they most often fall on the side of cost,” said John Costanzo, president of Purolator International, the U.S.-based subsidiary of Purolator Inc. “These findings represent an opportunity for U.S. retailers looking to expand their reach across the northern border, by identifying what helps to drive – or hinder – final purchase decision making.”

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Especially during the holiday season, shipping cost and delivery time can become an issue. Sixty-three percent of Canadians and 49 percent of Americans decided against purchasing a gift last year due to high shipping costs, while 53 percent of Canadians and 43 percent of Americans decided against a purchase because it would not be delivered in time.

When purchasing an item for delivery, reputation and reliability of the carrier was ranked as very important to consider by over half (Canada, 58 percent U.S. 57 percent) of online consumers.

Eighty percent of Canadian shoppers said they would choose postal service delivery if it meant receiving a lower shipping cost. The majority of Canadians (62 percent) and Americans (60 percent) said they view postal delivery as an acceptable alternative to other kinds of delivery services.

“Our postal hybrid solution, PuroPost, addresses this consumer preference, giving Canadians making online purchases from U.S. e-tailers a courier-like experience at a cost they are willing to pay. With PuroPost, we can deliver to virtually all of the Canadian population with transit times that match industry standard ground trans-border services,” Costanzo added.

Canadians purchasing from the U.S. are also concerned about additional fees they may encounter. Almost half of consumers surveyed said taxes and tariffs were important concerns, while 15 percent ranked it as the most important factor when making their purchasing decision.

According to Purolator International, when using PuroPost, all duties, taxes and fees are paid upfront with the majority of shipments arriving at the border pre-cleared.

Roughly $300 billion of goods are imported into Canada from the U.S. every year, the company reported.