SalesTech Star

Pitney Bowes Survey: Half of US Online Shoppers Plan to Take Advantage of Anticipated Markdowns Due to Inventory Surpluses

15% remain unswayed by discounts as they cut back on spending amid rising inflation and interest rates

Pitney Bowes, a global shipping and mailing company that provides technology, logistics, and financial services, today released new findings from its BOXpoll® consumer surveys examining how rising inflation and interest rates, retailer overstocks, and loosening COVID-19 mandates will affect consumer shopping patterns in the next three to six months.

Discounts

As Americans grapple with record-high inflation rates, inventory surpluses among large retailers are leading to widespread discounts for US shoppers. Pitney Bowes asked consumers how markdowns on items like casual apparel, home appliances and furniture will affect online purchasing behavior in the next six months and found that 49% of consumers, including 60% of Millennials, plan to buy more online in the next six months because of these trends. At the same time, 15% of all consumers are unlikely to buy discounted items because they are cutting back on spending.

“The joy of online shopping—as retailers and brands who spent the pandemic investing in innovative ecommerce experiences will see—is a behavior that will only grow in the foreseeable future—even eclipsing the ‘I need it now’ mentality for the majority of consumers. ”

“This summer will present both new challenges and new opportunities for brands,” said Vijay Ramachandran, VP Market Strategy, Global Ecommerce at Pitney Bowes. “Overstocks and markdowns will impact profitability, but also create new openings to sell as a large portion of consumers seek out deals—further aided by the return of Prime Day and other mid-year promotions. At the same time, our survey found a growing number of consumers cutting back on retail spending altogether as they react to record inflation and gas prices, and rising interest rates.”

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Why consumers continue to shop online

To further examine how consumer shopping behaviors have evolved in recent months, Pitney Bowes asked BOXpoll survey respondents why they choose to shop online instead of in-store. The results revealed that some—but not all—pre-pandemic ecommerce behaviors have returned.

  • More than half (56%) said their motivations for buying online have changed since the peak periods of the pandemic.
  • The number one reason survey respondents selected shopping online was to save a trip to the store (43%). These consumers, including 50% of Boomers and 45% of GenX do not mind waiting for delivery.
  • Fear of COVID exposure, while significantly less of a deterrent to in-store shopping now, than early in the pandemic, is still on the minds of 15% of consumers.

“The fact is, we’re still waiting on the ‘new normal.’ 2020 saw unprecedented capacity constraints among ecommerce logistics networks. 2021 witnessed historic disruptions in the manufacturing supply chain. 2022 is shaping up to be the year of oversupply and price volatility. That said, the pandemic has ingrained some online shopping preferences. Before the pandemic, shoppers were motivated by the convenience of online shopping as an alternative to in-store experiences; now we’re seeing the emergence of more consumers who’ve discovered they genuinely enjoy online shopping,” said Ramachandran.

“The joy of online shopping—as retailers and brands who spent the pandemic investing in innovative ecommerce experiences will see—is a behavior that will only grow in the foreseeable future—even eclipsing the ‘I need it now’ mentality for the majority of consumers. ”

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Shipping Speed

Another behavior that has varied throughout the past two years is the perception of shipping speed. Pitney Bowes asked respondents how likely they are to pay for fast shipping while making online purchases, compared to three months ago.

  • Two-thirds (67%) of consumers are no more likely to pay for faster shipping than they were three months ago, as ‘appointment buying’ re-emerges with return-to-work and vacation plans.
  • One-third (33%) of both Gen Z and those shopping online more than they were three months ago said they are more likely to upgrade shipping than before.
  • Twenty three-percent of parents and 22% of Millennials are willing to pay for speed

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