Drone Delivery: Americans Aren’t Quite Ready For It Yet

Source: ReportLinker, used with permission

While online shopping has spread rapidly across the U.S., Americans aren’t ready yet to embrace drone delivery of their goods. Less than half of Americans say they are interested in having a drone deliver the items they order, according to a new survey conducted by ReportLinker.

Researchers named privacy, safety and regulations as reasons Americans aren’t ready yet to embrace drone delivery. U.S. regulators have yet to nail down rules for drone operation, although the Federal Aviation Administration has set forth some guidelines.

Experimenting with drone delivery

Amazon is perhaps the most high-profile company that’s experimenting with drone delivery, but UPS is also trying it out. So far both companies seem particularly interested in making deliveries very fast. Amazon performed its first drone delivery in the U.K. last week, taking only 13 minutes from the time the shopper clicked their mouse until the package was delivered.

UPS dropped an asthma inhaler to a patient in a distant location on an island along the coast. A trip that usually takes 30 minutes only took six.

Boosting delivery speed raises customer satisfaction

Cutting the amount of time it takes to deliver packages is a natural focus of drone delivery, as the growing popularity of Amazon’s Prime service due to its free two-day delivery option indicates just how important speed is. The online retailer has also been working on same-day deliveries for some goods in some markets.

Delivery speed plays an important role in customer satisfaction, as companies that keep their customers happy are much more competitive than those that don’t. Shoppers who buy things online want their goods as quickly as possible, and ReportLinker’s survey also indicates just how import fast shipping is to customers. The median score on the importance of fast shipping was six, according to the survey. Women tended to rate speed of shipping higher than men, giving it a median score of seven.

Shoppers favor Amazon

One thing that’s interesting is that in ReportLinker’s survey, respondents named Amazon as the most popular shipping service, with 33% saying that the online retailer delivered their shipments. Amazon’s Prime service was used by 19% of respondents, making it tied with the U.S. Postal Service.

Source: ReportLinker, used with permission

This is interesting because Amazon tends to use UPS or the Postal Service for its deliveries, but customers are identifying Amazon as the delivery company. While the online retailer has been building out its own infrastructure, it usually isn’t the one that delivers packages to people’s doors, even though people select Amazon Prime as the delivery option at checkout. If the company can get its drone delivery service up and running, which depends heavily on regulators, then it will probably be making more of its own deliveries.

But possibly even before it begins using drones, Amazon could be the one actually delivering packages as it’s been reported recently that the company is seeking to abandon UPS and its other delivery partners.

 Drone delivery will help cut costs

Speed isn’t the only reason perfecting drone delivery is important for retailers and shipping companies such as UPS, as cutting costs is also important. Amazon could save lots of money by delivering its own packages and even more money through drone delivery.

Customers also respond to cost when it comes to delivering their packages, as almost half of respondents said they mainly chose USPS because of cost. Forty-four percent of non-Amazon Prime users named cost as the main reason for choosing USPS.

Source: ReportLinker, used with permission

However, FedEx is the most popular service when speed is the most important factor.

About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at Mjones@valuewalk.com.