December 13, 2011, 3:50 PM

Tick, tock: Holidays shipping offers are set to end

But says most retailers have increased their free shipping budgets.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

87% of standard shipping offers from online retailers will expire on or before next Tuesday, Dec. 20, according to a new survey from, the e-commerce arm of the National Retail Federation. That’s virtually unchanged from last year, when nearly 86% of those offers expired on or before Dec. 20.

The numbers underscore the dwindling time that retailers have to persuade online shoppers to spend—along with the delivery options available to tease out consumers delaying their purchases. That’s because not all retailers plan to close up shop early. The survey, which involved 51 retailers and was conducted between Sept. 22 and Oct. 14 by BIGResearch, found that 5.3% of retailers will offer expedited shipping as late as Friday, Dec. 23. And even shoppers who wait until nearly the last minute will have the option of free expedited shipping until Dec. 22, which is when 86.4% of those offers will expire, according to the survey results.

“As consumers shop around for the perfect gifts, express and standard free shipping offers could be the deciding factor for many procrastinators this holiday season,” says Vicki Cantrell,’s executive director.

The survey also found that:

• 22% of online retailers will offer express two-day shipping for guaranteed Christmas delivery through Dec. 22.

• 30% of online retailers will offer overnight express shipping through Dec. 23 for guaranteed Christmas delivery.  

• 92.5% of online retailers have or will have offered some form of free shipping at some point during the holiday shopping season.

• 56.3% of online retailers report their budgets for free shipping promotions have increased from last year.



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