One third of online shoppers open to drone deliveries

Flying drone in field

  • Fast delivery cited as main benefit of drone deliveries
  • Majority of online consumers concerned with the risk of goods being left unattended
  • Just 17% confident that drone deliveries will be introduced into this country in the near future

One third (33%) of online shoppers would be willing to opt for delivery by drones, according to the latest consumer research from Voice of the Customer specialists eDigitalResearch.

Of those open to the idea of drone deliveries, over half (68%) feel that faster delivery is the main benefit to the new delivery technology, while another 40% believe it would offer them cheaper and more convenient delivery options.

However, there is also a fear amongst consumers that the introduction of drone deliveries would lead to an increased risk of parcels being left unattended and open to damage. 47% feel that left packages is the biggest disadvantage of delivery by drone, while another 39% believe that the technology is unreliable and only able to cope with parcels of a certain size.

The research also found that knowledge and trust surrounding drones in extremely low. eDigitalResearch surveyed 2,000 online shoppers and found that, of those opposed to the idea of drone delivery, 35% were unsure what drone deliveries would involve and what the real benefits were.

Overall, just 17% of those surveyed are confident that drone deliveries will be introduced into the UK in the near future – 49% don’t believe it will ever happen, while 35% remain unsure. Online retailing giant Amazon remain the pioneer behind drone deliveries with its Amazon Prime Air initiative and announced late last year that it was in search of an engineer to begin trial flights in the UK.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of consumers would be happy to receive smaller, relatively low-cost goods via drones. Over half (54%) said they would be comfortable drones delivering their books, CDs and DVD online orders, while 35% would consider having clothing and footwear items delivered via the new technology – and plays perfectly into Amazon’s main product offering of small consumer goods.

Chris Russell, Joint CEO at eDigitalResearch, and Visiting Professor of Digital Consumers at University College London, explains, “Whether drone deliveries ever come to fruition in this country is yet to be seen. Amazon continue to surge forward with their Prime Air scheme and if they’re able to get it off the ground, could revolutionise the delivery and fulfilment sector. We’re starting to see consumers becoming increasingly frustrated with wait times of 3-5 days for their online orders – the introduction of drone deliveries could completely change all of that. But – and there’s a big one – if we are to see drone deliveries take off, there will need to be vast investment in trying to increase consumer knowledge, trust and confidence in the technology”.

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