Survey: 90% of retailers to offer some form of free shipping for holiday

Washington -- Free shipping offers will abound this holiday season, according to Shop.org’s eHoliday survey conducted by BIGinsight. Nine in 10 (89.7%) retailers plan to offer some form of free shipping for online shoppers. When asked which promotions they will emphasize most heavily during the holiday season, 37.5% plan to offer free standard shipping with conditions (e.g. minimum purchase), and three in 10 (30.0%) will offer free standard shipping without conditions.

In addition to free shipping offers, retailers will impress holiday shoppers with promotions that include coupons, limited-time only deals, and discounts on specific purchases. Nearly half (47.5%) said they plan to heavily emphasize promotions that offer discounts that include a specific percent off their purchase and12.5% plan to offer coupons with select dollars off their purchase. Additionally, nearly one-third (32.5%) said they would offer limited-time only promotions.

Those looking to get a head start on their shopping lists won’t have to wait too much longer for those free shipping deals: three in 10 (30.0%) online retailers said their free shipping offers will start earlier than last year.

Many companies now offer free shipping options every day of the year. Specifically, when asked when they would launch their first free shipping deal of the holiday season, nearly one-quarter (23.1%) said they already offer free shipping year-round. Of those who don’t, 26.6% said they would launch their first free shipping promotion by Halloween, and by Thanksgiving – more than three-quarters (76.6%) of online retailers will have offered the promotion.

When asked why they would be more inclined to shop online this holiday season, nearly four in 10 (38.4%) shoppers said 24-hour convenience is a main reason, and more than one-third (35.0%) said they specifically choose to shop online because of free shipping. Additionally, 33.1% say they don’t care for holiday crowds in stores and 29.6% prefer the ease of being able to compare prices.