Prefer fast or cheap delivery? This is what consumers want!

The surge in online orders, leads to a huge rush for delivery services. Packages are delivered much too late and there is chaos in post offices everywhere. But what do consumers consider more important? A quick or inexpensive delivery?

Online orders have been in a state of flux in recent years. All the way through the Covid-19 virus, when more and more people started ordering online. Stores were closed for long periods of time, and people no longer felt safe in crowded shopping streets. If you really need a product, you simply order it online! But how can you as a company ensure a pleasant online experience for your customer? We explain whether consumers prefer fast or cheap delivery!


Research in 2019 found that 70% of Dutch consumers let it be known that they would be willing to wait longer for their order if it came with free shipping or cheap delivery. However, the food and beverage sector is an exception to this. In that sector, people prefer fast delivery to free shipping (or cheap delivery)!

If we look at sectors, such as electronics, fashion and furniture, we see that consumers consider delivery costs more important than fast delivery. In the fashion industry, consumers care the least about how fast the delivery is, preferring free shipping or cheap delivery.

fast delivery

26% of consumers considered low-cost delivery very important during the survey. 49% thought cheap delivery was important and only 17% did not think cheap delivery or free shipping was important at all. In addition to uncovering consumer preferences between fast delivery or cheap delivery, it also revealed some consumer annoyances. Consumers resent it when the delivery driver fails to drop off the delivery at the agreed time. A wider time slot is not the right solution for this, as it also creates irritation. If the cost afterwards is higher than indicated in advance, this is also considered very annoying.

Change by Covid-19

So free shipping and cheap delivery was the norm for a very long time, but with the advent of Covid-19, this has changed. For the first time in a long time, delivery costs have become a lesser priority! Consumers prefer flexibility in terms of delivery to cheap delivery (or free shipping). Consumers are finding control increasingly important. They want to be able to decide where, when and what time their package is delivered. So quick or cheap delivery was not a factor.

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important

In addition to fast or cheap delivery or free shipping, we see another pillar becoming increasingly influential. This pillar is sustainability. Indeed, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environment. So you can see that the e-commerce business is responding well to that. As a result, more and more alternatives for sustainable delivery are emerging. In the cities, packages are delivered more often by bike, there are more and more electric delivery vans, and the packages are often packaged more sustainably than before!

Large companies are also trying to make a difference, for example PostNL stopped offering a next delivery attempt in mid-2019. They now bring your package straight to a nearby pickup point. Albert Heijn also gives discounts to customers if they choose a route that emits less CO2 during grocery delivery.


You can learn a lot from this! Indeed, there is still room for improvement. By giving consumers choice in the length of delivery and the cost of delivery. By allowing consumers to choose fast delivery, cheap delivery or free shipping, consumers can become as much as 70% more satisfied. You can do this by letting your customer choose via time slots when the order will be delivered. In doing so, offer enough pick-up locations and choose a good cut-off time for your same day, next day delivery.


The answer to the question “would you rather have fast or cheap delivery?” is therefore difficult. Consumers prefer flexible delivery. Indeed, the focus is increasingly on a flexible delivery experience. The consumer must feel comfortable with the experience. Also, the delivery process should be as green and sustainable as possible. Both in delivery and packaging. Consumers do feel it is important to remain in control in this regard.

With these logistical developments, one thing has become very important. Offer multiple shipping options during checkout. This allows the consumer to choose, how quickly, at what price and how sustainable they want to receive the order. If you don’t do this, there is a chance that the customer will switch to the competitor who offers more choices.

Fast delivery? Cheap delivery? Or free shipping? You will need at least Zebra labels to ship your products. Therefore, choose the thermal Zebra labels from With us, you can expect both fast and cheap delivery!