GREENWICH, Conn. – An October survey on e-commerce trends during the COVID-19 pandemic from global supply chain services provider XPO Logistics indicates consumers and retailers alike expect on-time arrival of holiday orders.

XPO expanded the scope of this most recent survey to include retailers and consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Spain, and it narrowed the focus to holiday shopping behavior this year.

Numerous retail analysts predict that a spending shift to e-commerce will be the dominant trend in fourth quarter retail activity. The survey found that buyers and sellers were almost universally positive about the ability of supply chains to meet the increased demand, despite heightened safety restrictions.

Key consumer findings follow:

  • 85% of respondents believe that their online holiday purchases will arrive on time.
  • 51% prefer to purchase gifts online, while 27% prefer in-store shopping, with online as their second choice.
  • 60% cited price as the most important factor when making a holiday purchase.

While consumer respondents did note some drawbacks to online shopping, such as the inability to view merchandise in person (30%), most were confident about the process itself. Relatively few respondents had concerns about damaged goods (12%) or the returns process (9%).

Key retailer findings include:

  • 91% of respondents feel prepared to manage the surge in e-commerce orders, and 57% plan to offer sales earlier than in previous holiday seasons.
  • 62% have added or plan to add outsourced supply chain support from third-party logistics and transportation providers.
  • 60% have added or plan to add warehousing support, either in-house or through third-party providers.

Retailer respondents did have some practical concerns about managing record volumes during the pandemic, citing inventory levels and technology among the factors most likely to come under pressure.

“For more than seven months, we’ve been steadfast in supporting our customers’ supply chains during COVID-19, while maintaining the utmost safety for our workers,” said Malcolm Wilson, CEO of XPO Logistics Europe. “Now we’re seeing an unprecedented level of new interest from e-commerce and omnichannel retailers as they turn to outsourced logistics. Our technology and scale are immense advantages for these customers in managing the consumer experience.”

The surveys were conducted by independent research firm Statista between Oct. 14-27. The consumer respondents are adults aged 18 and older. The retailer respondents have at least one online sales channel, with or without brick-and-mortar stores.

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