Today’s consumers increasingly prioritize convenience when it comes to purchases, and expect retailers to continue to offer innovative ways to save them time and effort, according to the latest issue of the Consumer View report released by the National Retail Federation.
“Time is a precious commodity for today’s consumers,” NRF Vice President for Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews said. “Shoppers are busier with commuting to work, dealing with family obligations or catching up on schoolwork, among other things. Naturally, convenience factors are playing a larger role in their shopping experience.”
According to the report, 83 percent of consumers say convenience while shopping is more important to them now compared with five years ago. While consumers overwhelmingly opt for quality and price in purchasing decisions, convenience offers retailers a competitive advantage. The report found 97 percent of respondents have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient for them.
The popularity of delivery services like Amazon Prime, Shipt or Instacart reinforce consumers’ willingness to pay – often at a premium – for convenience. Sixty-six percent of shoppers pay for at least one type of delivery service, and one-quarter say they pay for multiple delivery services.
The report also found that how consumers are shopping and where they are in the purchase process can dictate how much convenience matters. For example, 38 percent said that for online shopping, convenience matters most during the beginning of the shopping experience when consumers are researching products and trying to determine which option is best for them. Alternatively, 40 percent of in-store shoppers said checkout is when convenience is most important. Additionally, consumers prioritize convenience for certain types of purchases, specifically when it comes to everyday items such as groceries, personal care items and pet supplies.
Retailers have anticipated consumers’ needs in these areas by offering a variety of innovations such as buy online, pick up in-store and two-day shipping. These options can contribute to brand loyalty, as 93 percent say they are more likely to choose to shop at a specific retailer based on convenience.
“While convenience continues to grow in importance for consumers, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Mathews said. “As the industry evolves, retailers will look to identify additional ways to save consumers time and effort.”
Consumer View is a recurring report issued by NRF that gauges consumer behavior and shopping trends related to stores, online channels, customer loyalty, technology and other topics. Using Toluna Analytics, the study surveyed 2,949 U.S. adults 18 or older October 2-29. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.