Free Shipping a Xmas Ace in the Hole for Online Retailers

According to the latest research from, US retailers are counting on the lure of free shipping to reign in the dollars this Christmas!

The eHoliday survey* conducted by BIGresearch, indicated that 92.5% (nine in 10) of retailers surveyed plan to offer free shipping at some point during the holiday season.

“There’s no question consumers are eager to hit the web this holiday season, and online retailers are prepping by optimising their sites, beginning their marketing and promotions early, and planning plenty of free shipping promotions as they aim to provide value and convenience for their shoppers,” said’s Head of Research, Fiona Swerdlow.

With 68% of retailers expecting their online sales to grow at by least 15% compared to last year, it is no surprise that in order to capture this traffic 40% of retailers were planning to start their holiday promotions around Halloween (31 October).

The results also highlighted which technologies retailers have prioritised in order to capture their savvy consumers, with:

  • 51% significantly investing in mobile-optimised websites;
  • 19.6% investing in tablet device applications; and
  • 35.3% investing in QR codes for offline advertising, such as magazine ads and billboards.

“Consumers today are far from one-track minded when it comes to finding holiday gifts,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director, BIGresearch. “These days, most people want to shop around all season long, using their smartphones to scan items in stores and compare prices, retailers’ websites to find store locations to scope out gift ideas, and tablets or laptops to shop from the convenience of their home.”

*The eHoliday Study, now in its ninth year, provides an authoritative snapshot of the holiday activities of both large and small online retailers, many of which have been in business for at least ten years, and also includes the sentiments of online holiday shoppers. The study, conducted by BIGresearch for, surveyed 1,685 consumers from September 19 – October 7, 2011 and 51 online retailers from September 22 – October 14, 2011.

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