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Pitney Bowes Survey Forecasts Peak Season Boom in Ecommerce for the Second Consecutive Year

As consumer behaviors continue to shift, 41% of consumers expect to shop online more this holiday season

Pitney Bowes released results from its latest BOXpoll™ consumer survey, highlighting the significant impact of the Delta variant on consumer shopping behaviors ahead of this year’s peak shopping season.

When Pitney Bowes last asked consumers—in May—about changes in shopping behaviors, health and safety guidance was relaxing and COVID-19 cases were on a steady decline. Four months later, mask mandates and public health restrictions are on the rise, as are new COVID-19 cases resulting from the Delta variant. To determine how consumers were responding to the changes, Pitney Bowes examined whether and how much consumers were reverting to being cautious and wary about shopping amid possible health risks, finding that:

• One in 3 consumers will start shopping more online (19% increase from May).
• One in 4 consumers will start shopping less in person (16% increase from May).
• Forty-one percent of consumers expect to be shopping more online this holiday season versus their current shopping habits.

Interestingly, consumer sentiment towards the Delta variant is not consistent across generations. Millennials are the most cautious, with nearly 1 in 3 saying they would shop less in person (28%) and nearly half saying they will shop more online (46%) due to the Delta variant. That is a near 20% increase since May for both pieces of data, the highest of any age group.

“For the first time last year, online was consumers’ favorite holiday shopping destination,” said Gregg Zegras, EVP and President, Global Ecommerce at Pitney Bowes. “As we enter this year’s peak season amid the surge of the Delta variant, our data shows that consumers are defaulting back to their new comfort zone. All of us in this industry should expect a peak not unlike 2020. To avoid disappointing customers, retailers should schedule promotions earlier to pull forward demand and lower risk by diversifying their carrier mix.”

Delta’s Impact on the Workplace

In recent months, the Delta variant has not only significantly impacted public health mandates and social gatherings, but also the U.S. workforce. As Delta continues to surge across the country, major U.S. corporations have delayed return to office plans until 2022, causing employees to continue remote work practices.

As store shopping trips must become more intentional with more people continuing to work from home, it is expected that retail brands will experience greater adoption of online shopping.

• One in 3 adults (the largest proportion of employed consumers) expect to work remotely most often.
• Gen Z, with their track record of being less concerned in general about the pandemic, expect to work in an office most often.
• One in 4 Baby Boomers and 1 in 5 GenXers hold a job where remote work is not possible, which puts a slightly lower ceiling on how shopping behavior impacts among these generations.

Please visit www.pitneybowes.com/boxpoll for all of the latest BOXpoll findings, including four new articles covering consumer shopping behaviors.