This report covers the US online order fulfillment market with a focus on shipping, delivery, and pickup. Inside the report, you’ll find a complete analysis of the market and consumer, from market drivers and competitive strategies, to consumer segmentation within fulfillment, consumer attitudes toward fulfillment, and more.

Below, we summarize the key areas analyzed in this report, and offer handpicked insights.

Key Areas Analyzed in This Report

  • Macroeconomic factors impacting eCommerce and fulfillment options.
  • Items purchased online and fulfillment options used.
  • Important factors for online orders.
  • Attitudes toward fulfillment.
  • Price sensitivity for shipping.

US eCommerce Fulfillment Market Overview

As online shopping proliferates, companies balance cost and convenience in fulfillment strategies. While home delivery remains preferred by consumers, cost mitigation methods, such as threshold-based free shipping, are gaining momentum. Businesses are also investing in sustainability and exploring future-oriented solutions, such as drone delivery and AI-powered fulfillment processes.

Consumer Trends and Opportunities for Companies

Demographics have different fulfillment preferences

Online shoppers value speed, cost-effectiveness, and control over their orders, with trends revealing preferences split along demographic lines. For instance, younger men favor faster shipping, while women tend to opt for cost-saving methods such as buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS). Companies will therefore want to broaden their fulfillment strategies to cater to diverse needs.

How to capture the demand for faster delivery

The growing demand for faster shipping presents a potential opportunity for brands. With roughly 70% of consumers craving swift deliveries, companies could consider novel strategies, such as drone delivery or third-party partnerships, to enhance their service and remain competitive in this rapidly evolving industry.

Find a comprehensive breakdown of market opportunities in the online order fulfillment industry in the full report. Looking for something else? Browse our eCommerce market research and find exactly what you need.

Services and Companies Covered

Shipping, delivery and pickup refers to the methods and practices used to fulfill online purchases. Services include major shipping companies such as UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, Amazon Fulfillment and other delivery services such as Instacart, Uber and DoorDash, among others.

Additional Features Included in Your Report

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Mintel’s Clients Portal: Our portal offers instant access to actionable analysis and trends pieces relevant to your industry that are published almost daily. You can also browse for more market research reports.

Expert Analysis from an eCommerce Specialist

This report, written by Marisa Ortega, a leading retail and eCommerce analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the online order fulfillment market, adding expert context to the numbers.

During this time of economic turmoil, shoppers will be more focused on value than ever before. Retailers must be cautious about relying on free shipping to attract online shoppers as this perk can easily backfire. Instead, they will want to approach free shipping more strategically and offer consumers value beyond price by focusing on fast, efficient and sustainable fulfillment options to create lasting consumer loyalty.

Marisa Ortega, Analyst, Retail and eCommerce


Marisa Ortega
Retail & eCommerce Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top Takeaways
    • Consumer trends
      • Figure 1: Fulfillment options used, 2023
      • Figure 2: Important factors when ordering online, 2023
      • Figure 3: Attitudes toward fulfillment options, 2023
    • Competitive strategies
    • Last-mile delivery is becoming a focal point for brands
    • Pickup options are getting more sophisticated
    • Innovative technology is being leveraged to bring consumers’ purchases to them faster
    • Market predictions
      • Figure 4: Shipping, delivery and pickup outlook, 2023-28
    • Opportunities
    • Diversify fulfillment capabilities to meet consumers’ varying needs
    • Improve the speed of deliveries
    • Become more strategic about free shipping
    • Fulfill orders minimizing the impact to the environment
  3. Market Drivers

    • The increased cost of living leads consumers to shift how they shop
      • Figure 5: Consumer Price Index change from previous year, 2020-23
    • Meet the needs of online shoppers by offering value beyond price
    • Prioritizing sustainability can help set a company apart from its competition
    • Technology is becoming increasingly important to drive operational efficiency and meet consumers’ expectations
    • Potential labor disruptions can impact retail operations
  4. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Kroger leverages new technology to improve its deliveries
      • Figure 6: Kroger partners with the startup Gatik to introduce driverless trucks
    • DoorDash expands its nonfood client list
      • Figure 7: Doordash continues to add retail partners to its service
    • Target adds Starbucks to its curbside fulfillment feature
      • Figure 8: Target adds Starbucks items to its Drive Up service
    • Zipline expands its reach through home delivery service
      • Figure 9: Zipline expands its home delivery service
    • Save Mart debuts an automated fulfillment center
      • Figure 10: Save Mart utilizes robots to pick and pack groceries for delivery
  5. The Consumer – Fast Facts

  6. Fulfillment Consumer Segments

    • Consumers care about how their orders are packaged and dispatched
      • Figure 11: Consumer segments related to fulfillment attitudes, 2023
  7. Fulfillment Options Used

    • Go beyond the “standard” to appeal to a wider audience of consumers
      • Figure 12: Fulfillment options used, by gender and age, 2023
    • Cater to the need of speed to remain competitive
      • Figure 13: Fulfillment options used, by cluster analysis of attitudes toward fulfillment options, 2023
  8. Items Shopped

    • Specific circumstances can influence consumers’ approach to fulfillment options
      • Figure 14: Items shopped, 2023
      • Figure 15: Instacart offers same-day and scheduled delivery for furniture and other items
    • Value, urgency and purpose behind purchases can have an effect on the fulfillment selection
      • Figure 16: Items shopped, by fulfillment options, 2023
  9. Important Factors When Ordering Online

    • Someone has to absorb the cost of shipping
      • Figure 17: Important factors when ordering online, 2023
      • Figure 18: Barnes and Noble rewards loyal customers with free shipping and other perks
    • Urban consumers have more fulfillment-related expectations and demands
      • Figure 19: Important factors when ordering online, by area, 2023
      • Figure 20: Walmart offers its logistic set up to other companies through GoLocal
  10. Delivery Concerns

    • Transparency and quality customer service can minimize consumers’ concerns when waiting for their orders
      • Figure 21: Delivery concerns, by gender and age, 2023
      • Figure 22: Amazon leverages AI to identify damaged items before they are shipped to customers
    • Address fulfillment concerns to earn shoppers’ trust and increase loyalty
      • Figure 23: Delivery concerns, by consumer segments related to fulfillment attitudes, 2023
  11. Attitudes toward Fulfillment Options

    • Value and sustainability are top of mind
      • Figure 24: Attitudes toward fulfillment options, 2023
      • Figure 25: Walmart utilizes eco-friendly packaging materials during fulfillment process
    • Free shipping offers can trigger returned merchandise, particularly among Millennial consumers
      • Figure 26: Attitudes toward fulfillment options, by generation, 2023
      • Figure 27: Domino’s encourages customers to pick up their orders
    • Win Fulfillment Engaged consumers by offering convenience and flexibility
      • Figure 28: Attitudes toward fulfillment options, by consumer segments related to fulfillment attitudes, 2023
  12. Price Sensitivity for Shipping

    • Consumers are willing to pay premiums for shipping when the service is worthwhile
      • Figure 29: Price sensitivity for shipping, 2023
    • Some consumers know the price of convenience
      • Figure 30: Price sensitivity for shipping, by consumer segments related to fulfillment attitudes, 2023
      • Figure 31: Walmart offers in-home delivery through Walmart+
  13. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

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