Inmar Intelligence Survey Reveals that Consumers Will Spend More and Wait Longer For Online Purchases that Offer Free Shipping

Inmar Intelligence | May 12, 2021

Inmar Intelligence, a data-driven technology-enabled services company, today revealed findings on e-commerce consumer insights, including what shoppers would give up just to get free shipping on their purchase. In a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers, Inmar Intelligence uncovered the power of free shipping and offers guidance for retailers and marketers on the importance of shipping costs in relation to consumers buying more.

With the rollout of vaccines and the world beginning to open up, people who have been stuck at home for over a year will be anxious to get out and shop in-person if given the choice. Shopping in person not only gets people out and about, but saves on shipping. But what if most online stores offered free shipping, is there more incentive to continue online shopping at home? 

According to Inmar Intelligence’s survey, 78 percent of consumers are willing to buy more just to get free shipping, and that a majority don’t mind waiting a few extra days to receive their items if free shipping is an option. The data also showed the lengths consumers would go to receive free shipping, like picking up their order at a nearby grocery store, pharmacy or Amazon locker-like setting. 

Although consumers prefer free shipping to receive their orders, they do not want to pay to ship them back. Sixty-two percent of respondents said that they are not willing to pay for the shipping and handling of returns, but of those who would pay for a return, 64 percent would pay less than $10. 

The most enlightening findings from the survey include:

  • 52 percent are willing to spend $25 - $50 in a single transaction if it means they will receive free shipping
  • 85 percent of shoppers would be willing to pick up their packages at a local grocery store or pharmacy if it saved them the cost of shipping
  • 79 percent of shoppers expect free shipping when ordering apparel and home goods online 
  • 87 percent don’t mind waiting longer (5-7 days) to receive their purchase if it means they get free shipping, despite 48 percent who expect deliveries to arrive in 2-3 days
  • Of those shoppers who are willing to pay for shipping and handling for returns, 30 percent would be willing to pay less than $5 for a return and 34 percent would pay between $5 - $10

“Over the past year, consumer behaviors and expectations when it comes to e-commerce have clearly shifted,” said Ken Bays, Vice President of Product Development at Inmar Intelligence. “Consumers have an expectation of free shipping, but what’s surprising is the methods they’ll accept to receive that incentive. From the retailers’ perspective, consumers are willing to provide their own last mile, which allows retailers to come up with creative alternatives for fulfillment and reduce, sometimes remove, last-mile costs. It is a trend that is here to stay, and one that could be beneficial for all.”

For decades, Inmar Intelligence has played a critical role in helping retailers make business decisions. Inmar Intelligence provides retailers with the technology to optimize the returns process for consumers and in turn allow the retailers to recover more product value and maximize sustainability efforts. While the pandemic accelerated the evolution of consumer buying behavior and trends, leaving some businesses flat-footed, Inmar Intelligence’s platform is able to meet these changing demands. With a technology infrastructure designed to execute machine learning and artificial intelligence at scale, Inmar Intelligence generates actionable insights to better inform planning decisions.

For more information about Inmar Intelligence’s return solutions please visit,