The cost of delivery is now UK consumers' main priority, compared to speed of delivery, which less than a quarter cite as most important to them, according to new research by Whistl.

Whistl's report, Continue to Thrive, published this week, found that cost of delivery is now top of consumers online shopping agenda (54%) rather than speed (24%), and that £5.95 is the highest price point for delivery before it has a negative impact on the ability to convert a sale.

The report, which was carried out early this year and involved a representative panel of 1,000 people in the UK, looks at the current health of the e-commerce sector.

It also provides insights into demographics, online expenditure and attitudes towards spending in 2023, as well as customer behaviour to returns, delivery, subscriptions, and social media use.

The report found that trading conditions remain highly competitive as economic pressure on household spending drives consumers to become increasingly price savvy. As the cost of living crisis continues the report also warns that online spending will drop by 3% this year.

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It also offers e-commerce retailers advice on how to target consumers and increase sales despite the economic challenges, for example by targeting households with an income over £70k, who are expected to increase spending online by 8%.

Opportunities for business growth include retail subscriptions, according to the report, pointing to research showing that 43% of the population are open to the idea. 

Almost half (47%) of consumers said they wanted discounts, whilst 39% favoured free delivery, both of which could be used to attract new customers, the report advises.

When looking at media habits, Facebook was the most frequently used social channel, the report revealed, with 61% using it daily. The most often used channel by men was YouTube and Facebook for females.

Nick Wells, Whistl executive chairman, said: “No doubt that the trading environment in the UK is challenging but it’s important that we help our e-commerce fulfilment customers navigate these times and help them to thrive. 

"Our report includes great insight into the current state of the market but most importantly profiles of what the consumer is thinking, which e-commerce retailers can use to enhance their online retail operations and grow their businesses.”