Rising US consumer expectations in 2020

February 25, 2020 by
Nico Hoeijmans

A study by RetailMeNot amongst online consumers in the United States revealed that consumer confidence reached historic high levels in 2019. Alongside the rise of confidence, the consumer expectations of shoppers have increased as well.

Expectations and retailer challenges in 2020

From shopping and reward programs to politics and sustainability, retailers can expect a lot for 2020. According to the study, these are the top expections and retailer challenges for this year: 

  1. Politics will impact retailer strategies, but consumers don't care as much as retailers expect.
  2. Consumers would rather get free shipping over expedited shipping, putting more pressure on retailers to offer competitive shipping deals.
  3. Shoppers prefer the lowest shipping cost over an eco-friendly shipping option.
  4. To avoid paying for shipping, most consumers would go in-store to purchase an item.
  5. Consumers expect retailers to provide expedited shipping options during the holiday season, resulting in less pressure to shop early
  6. White-glove concierge service is a "nice to have" — for now. 
  7. Retailers are peeling back their investments in mobile and social advertising.
  8. Credit card rewards are undercutting retail loyalty programs.
  9. Few consumers have signed up for subscription services, despite early adoption by millennials.
  10. Amazon Prime Day may be the new Black Friday, with consumers saying they found better deals in July 2019 than on the historic shopping day in November.
Is voice assistance dead?

Consumer preferences change continuingly. As a result, consumers have a power they hold over retailers. This is what Sara Skirboll, Shopping and Tred Expert at RetailMeNot claims. She explains: "We found at the beginning of 2019 that retailers were bullish about voice-assisted shopping but as the year unfolded, only 16% of consumers reported ever buying a product via their smart home speakers. As a result, only 38% of retailers plan to implement a voice-assisted shopping strategy this year."

Shipping Wars

The American consumer almost always opts for a speedy and free delivery. Based on the study, just over half of the American consumers (51%) are willing to wait longer for eco-friendly shipping options from retailers. Once cost becomes a factor, 70% prefer the lowest shipping price over environmental impact.

Here, too, demands and consumer expectations are rising. 81% of Americans expect retailers to offer more expedited shipping options during the 2020 holidays. Lots of consumers wait until the last moment to do their holiday shopping. On top of that, 44% of consumers admit they will shop later in the holiday season in 2020 because they know they can receive items faster. For retailers, this is a nightmare. The majority of brands and retailers (63%) struggle to keep up with shipping deals offered by their competitors, such as Amazon.

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