by Matt Weik
I like to sit here and gaze into my crystal ball every now and then to see what the future holds for the fitness and supplement industries. Ok, I’m lying. Well, partially. I don’t have a crystal ball, and I have zero knowledge about consumer demand or trends, but I like to toss my opinions out there every once in a while, based on what I’m seeing. That said, I feel like there may be another big consumer demand forming that supplement brands should be getting in front of before it sweeps through, and they are left playing catch up. What is this big consumer demand? It’s shipping time.
How quickly consumers get their packages seems to be getting increasingly important and part of their buying decisions and behaviors.
Why Shipping Time? How is Consumer Demand Changing?
It’s interesting to watch consumer demand change over the years and look at precisely the things causing consumers to make a purchase. The consumer demand and behavior I feel is going to change again, in my opinion. Why? I feel like COVID has changed consumer behavior, and the “I need it now” mentality will change the shipping time a company needs to negotiate pricing on. With people shopping around and items being out of stock during the pandemic, people appear to be more willing to spend more for a faster shipping time, so they aren’t without a particular item or items.
What was once about an item’s convenience will soon transition into the shipping time and how quickly you can get a product delivered to your doorstep. People want to have the things they just purchased arrive NOW and not a week later (or longer). Amazon Prime has made a killing off of their subscription that allows for 2-day delivery. Such a fast shipping time is reprogramming consumer demand and behavior. Once you start using Amazon Prime, you never want to wait longer than two days for anything ever again.
With every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there ordering supplements online (such as on Amazon), they can have them at their door in 48 hours and in some cities even the same day. Think about that for a minute. You mix your pre-workout today and look inside, only to find you don’t have enough for tomorrow’s workout. You don’t have time to run to your local supplement retailer, nor do you want to pay an arm and a leg and would prefer to order online. But there’s no way it will get to you in time, right? Wrong. Shipping time has been drastically cut these days to allow for next-to immediate delivery.
Let’s Look at the Numbers
I took a peek at Statista.com, and the numbers seem to be trending in the direction I’m predicting when it comes to shipping time and consumer demand.
As of December 2019, more than 112 million people are Amazon Prime members and take advantage of their 2-day shipping. The number is up an additional 11 million from the same period the previous year. According to their statistics, on average, Americans who have Amazon Prime spend around $1,400 per year on their site, whereas non-Prime members only spent $600.
Is the increase for Amazon Prime members due to the added consumer demand that insists on a faster shipping time and the ability to get their order in two days or less? It sure seems plausible.
A Faster Shipping Time Is Not Going to Work for All Brands
The harsh reality is that smaller supplement brands are not going to be able to provide a fast shipping time unless their margins are padded to the extent they can afford to eat the shipping, split the cost with the consumer, or will be forced to say the heck with the new consumer demand and hope that by lowering their prices and shrinking their margins, they’ll be able to compete with the bigger brands who are offering a fast shipping time.
It really depends on who you, as a consumer, are. Personally, there are things that I order online, and I can wait 5-7 business days to get it. Then there are things I order online, and I’m sitting at the mailbox the following day hoping and wishing the mail carrier delivers my package.
Is What I’m Thinking a Legit Shift and Is it Happening Now?
Will this evolving consumer demand actually happen? I think it may, and it could have already begun. People are getting less and less patient when it comes to shipping time.
USPS right now is a total and utter shitshow. Packages are getting lost. The shipping time keeps getting pushed back several days. Nothing seems to be arriving on time. This could be part of the reason I feel the consumer demand and expectations are going to change and have been for the last several months. No one wants to pay for shipping that usually has a package delivered to their doorstep in three days stretched out to 14. Quite frankly, I can’t blame them for getting pissed off over that.
This is why shipping time will be the next big consumer demand (again, in my opinion).