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Key findings from Flock Freight’s Consumer Expectations study (with infographic)

10.26.2020 | By Casey Bright | 4 min. read

More than 75% of Americans expect e-commerce shipping delays during crisis, according to survey

Coronavirus has been impacting the United States ever since COVID-19 became an everyday threat in March. The resulting lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders have caused a shift in buying behavior among American consumers.

Varying product availability has been a key reason for these changing buying decisions, prompting consumers to choose between need and preference. Consumers’ increased desire to stay home has contributed to the shift as well, accounting for the rise of online shopping during coronavirus.

The supply chain has faced fulfillment challenges from this influx of online orders, along with a myriad of crisis-related disruptions, including:

  • Altered trucking routes
  • Long wait times at warehouse depots
  • Truck driver shortages

These issues have impacted consumers’ experiences and, ultimately, their expectations.

Gauging America’s perceptions

To understand the initial consequences of the pandemic on consumer choices and perceptions, we partnered with The Harris Poll to publish the 2020 Consumer Expectations Study. The survey, comprised of over 2,000 U.S. adults (ages 18 and older), found that 24% of Americans expect online deliveries to take over one week to arrive during coronavirus. This is a significant departure from the e-commerce market standard that Amazon has established for one to two days. Taken with the study’s finding that only 10% of Americans expect online deliveries to arrive in one to two days during the crisis, this seems to demonstrate a noteworthy change in consumer expectations based on the current state of the supply chain.

Additionally, brand loyalty has suffered as a result of availability-focused buying, particularly for items that have been in short supply, such as food, paper products, and cleaning supplies. The survey found that:

  • 77% of Americans are willing to choose any available brand for essential products during the pandemic.
  • Due to shortages and limited selection, 67% are less likely to seek out a specific brand while grocery shopping.
  • 54% are buying from unfamiliar brands and distributors to get a specific product during coronavirus.

Clearly, consumers’ brand loyalty has significantly decreased during the crisis.

Additional findings describe consumer expectations across demographics – like gender and household income level — and include:

  • Women are more likely than men to say that they have come to expect delayed or late delivery of online orders during the pandemic (77% vs. 71%).
  • Household income level has no bearing on brand choice. Roughly 80% of consumers with household income levels across the board respond that they are willing to choose any available brand for necessities during coronavirus.
  • During the crisis, 59% of Americans are buying more items on shopping trips than they normally would.
  • 45% of Americans who ordered groceries online or through a delivery service for the first time during the pandemic had a positive experience.

The biggest takeaway for shippers? Because consumers aren’t buying based on brand loyalty right now, companies that have strong supply chains are outperforming those that don’t.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Flock Freight® from June 9-11, 2020 among 2,058 U.S. adults (ages 18 and older). This online survey is not based on a probability sample. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Whitney Wells via whitney@bamtheagency.com.

Flock Freight is working to keep supply chains intact and deliver goods fast. Ship your freight with us today.