Consumers increasingly made use of product deliveries for critical goods and safety reasons during the pandemic, and they expect to continue to do so, hoping for more last-mile and sustainable delivery options in the future, according to the 'Delivering on Demand 2021' consumer insights survey from Omnitracs. This article is copyright 2021 The Best Customer Guide.

The research found that, during the COVID-19 global health crisis, consumers became progressively dependent on delivery services due to lockdowns, stay-in-place orders, and times when leaving home was simply not safe.

According to the World Economic Forum, there was a 25% rise in consumer e-commerce deliveries in 2020.

Amid this growth, Omnitracs looked into shifting consumer preferences, desires, and needs to better understand the delivery pain points and challenges impacting shoppers today, as well as lessons for businesses who provide delivery services.

Key findings from the Consumer Insights Survey included:

  • Safety is top of consumers' delivery priorities
    Deliveries increased during the pandemic, and consumers say it was a major factor in keeping them healthy and virus-free during uncertain times. As a result, more than half (53%) of consumers experienced instances where they used a delivery service to ensure that themselves or family members were safe. Additionally, 47% of consumers had groceries, beverages, or alcohol delivered for the first time. Businesses should continue to invest in delivery options for customers who began using them for safety, but now rely on them for convenience.
  • Delivery experience drives loyalty and financial rewards
    Looking ahead, speed and reliability are top priorities for American consumers. According to the research, 59% of consumers used one- to two-day shipping at least once a month during the pandemic. Consumers would like to accelerate shipping times even more with 65% revealing they would be willing to pay more for faster, more reliable deliveries. Delivery providers may want to invest in dispatch, routing, and visibility solutions that allow them to optimize for these trends.
  • Sustainability future-proofs delivery success
    Consumers' expectations for when, where, and how their goods are delivered will continue to evolve in the coming years with heightened awareness around the environment and sustainability. Research from the report reveals that many are looking to businesses to shift to more sustainable practices with 40% wanting to see more eco-friendly delivery options, such as electric trucks. Additionally, consumers are willing to embrace new technology, as 45% said they are open to seeing drones used for last-mile delivery options. A greener set of delivery solutions should be on the roadmap for fleets of all sizes.

"The global health crisis ushered in a new way of living, and consumers have become accustomed to the conveniences that stay-at-home orders have brought to the table. It's clear that the pandemic-driven shift to deliveries as a primary method of buying goods isn't going anywhere as restrictions lift," said Dr. Ashim Bose, Chief Data and AI Officer at Omnitracs. "In the coming months and years, fleet services will only continue to grow in importance as the demand for faster, more reliable deliveries increases."