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Drone Delivery Could Boost Online Shopping

Tamara E. Holmes
Drone Delivery Could Boost Online Shopping

Retailers are starting to use drones to deliver packages, and a new survey suggests this could have an adverse impact on your wallet.

The ability of drones, or unpiloted aircraft, to take a package from a warehouse and drop it in a consumer’s backyard can add new appeal to online shopping. After all, drones could allow you to receive the products you order online faster. While drone delivery is not currently widespread, retailers such as CVS and Amazon are already experimenting with it.

To see how consumers feel about the promise of this technology, business-to-business ratings platform Clutch surveyed 528 people who ordered a product online in the prior six months. While feelings about the technology are mixed, a sizable percentage of consumers say drones could make them more likely to spend more of their dollars online.

Assessing the future of shopping

Many consumers have shown an interest in using technologies such as facial recognition and checkout-less payments to improve the shopping experience. The same holds true for the idea of drone delivery, the Clutch survey shows.

More than one-third of respondents — 36% — said the ability to have an item delivered by drone would make them more likely to buy that product.

Another 39% of respondents said the option of drone delivery would not affect their decision to buy the item. On the other hand, 25% said they would be less likely to buy an item if it were to be delivered by drone.

Companies that have a younger target audience may benefit more from the ability to offer drone delivery: 41% of those aged 18-34 said they’d be more likely to order an item if it would be delivered via drone, compared to 34% of those aged 35-54 and 18% of those 55 and older.

Drone delivery sparks excitement, anxiety

According to the survey, 31% of respondents said they were “excited” about drone delivery. They were most enthusiastic about:

  • Faster delivery (33%)
  • Cheaper delivery (21%)
  • Delivery to rural locations (15%)
  • Delivery to “real-time” location (12%)
  • Environmental friendliness (11%)
  • More security (9%)

However, those who were wary of drone delivery were most anxious about:

  • Potential damage to packages (20%)
  • The drone getting stolen or hacked (19%)
  • Drones replacing jobs (18%)
  • Higher costs (16%)
  • Less privacy (12%)
  • Property damage (9%)
  • Cluttered airspace (6%)

For many consumers, the jury is still out, as 50% said they were “uncertain” of their opinion on drone delivery.

If convenience is your main motivation for shopping online, drone delivery could potentially allow you to receive your purchases sooner. However, make sure the prospect of faster delivery doesn’t cause you to shop impulsively: studies have shown that many online shoppers regularly blow their budgets online.

If you do spend a significant amount of time shopping online, then try to do so strategically. For example, you could take advantage of one of the many credit cards that offer cashback and other rewards for online purchases.