Shop.org: Retailers planning last-minute holiday shipping rush

Washington, D.C. -- A report released Wednesday by Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, found that retailers are in tune with the last-minute shipping intentions of the average consumer.

According to Shop.org’s 2012 eHoliday Study conducted by BIGinsight, 45.7% of retailers will end standard shipping promotions by Monday, Dec. 17, in direct response to the average consumer’s tendency to wait until the last minute to finish holiday shopping.

Some retailers surveyed (5.7%) will end standard shipping promotions by Dec. 21.

“Even after weeks of record-level online traffic to their sites, retailers are well aware that millions of their customers will still shop at the very last minute, regardless of how early they may have started their shopping this year,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “For some procrastinators, express and standard free shipping offers could be the deciding factor in whether or not they purchase something. In anticipation, retailers will save some of the best deals of the year for the final stretch to reel in the countless last minute holiday shoppers we see each year.”

Consumers waiting until the very last minute, however, may have to hunt a little more diligently to find free or expedited shipping offers to guarantee Christmas delivery. While more than half (43.3%) of retailers surveyed will offer free expedited shipping through Dec. 20 or Dec. 21, 36.7% say they will not offer expedited free shipping offers at all this year. Additionally, extreme procrastinators will have until Dec. 22 when 13.3% of companies’ free expedited shipping promotions expire.

According to Shop.org’s eHoliday survey, nine-in-10 online retailers (89.7%) will provide a free shipping offer at some point during the 2012 holiday season, and consumers are keen to take advantage of these deals as more than one-third (35%) said they specifically choose to shop online because of free shipping.

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