With the news that Amazon has officially entered the drone delivery game, it might seem like adoption is inevitable. But what do consumers think of this possibility?
A new investigation a survey of over 1,000 consumers across the United States sought to answer exactly that question, as well as extract consumer sentiment on the arrival of drone delivery and a new phase of ultra- fast from start to finish. The top line? Consumers tend to be curious and generally supportive of the technology, although as with everything in the country there is no consensus.
The survey found that a majority of Americans (58%) favor the idea of drone deliveries and even more (64%) think drones are becoming an option for home delivery now or will be in the near future. the near future, suggesting a small gap between those who believe the trend is inevitable and those who think it’s a good idea.
Of the 64% who see drones becoming an option for home delivery, 32% believe it’s possible now or in the next 1-2 years, 18% say within 3-4 years and 14% here 5 to 10 years. Of the skeptics, 36% think it’s just not likely to happen. The main reason for this resistance was the likelihood of regulatory hurdles, accounting for 20% of people who believe the general public or governments will not approve the widespread adoption of drones for delivery.
Of those surveyed, 16% simply prefer that this does not happen. I’m surprised the number is so small, frankly, given the frequent criticism leveled at the idea, including fear of noise and nuisance and privacy concerns.
“Americans are ready for drones to deliver their packages, and retailers that adopt and scale drone delivery programs will find themselves ahead of the curve,” said Lorenz Meier, co-founder and CEO of Auterion, maker of an open-source drone mobility platform, who commissioned the report from Propeller Insights. “Cargo is the first instance where most people will experience the power of air mobility and autonomous systems first-hand, where drones will become a tangible, everyday reality.”
Currently, the most common types of door-to-door package deliveries reported by surveyed consumers are groceries, clothing, household items, meals and medications. 54% of Americans were willing to consider drones “the new corner store” for many of these items. Not surprisingly, given the convenience-driven consumer drive, same-day delivery also ranks high in terms of importance.
Which doesn’t mean there aren’t fears. 43% of respondents are worried that the drone will break down and they won’t receive their items, and 19% are distressed at not having human interaction with their delivery person, part of a massive trend towards a service without touching. The days of a quick chat with the delivery man may be coming to an end in the era of drone delivery.
There were additional concerns that seemed generalized to the delivery and logistics industry rather than specific to drones, such as 39% worried that the drone would deliver items to the wrong address, 38% worried that if something happened to the drone, I will not do it. get a refund, and 37% that my items will be spoiled by travel. Notably, 32% expressed fear that the skies are cluttered with ugly/noisy technology, a very real fear that I haven’t seen properly addressed in the race for drone delivery.
And what will consumers pay for the privilege of having a package dropped off by air? Not much, it turns out. Free drone delivery attracted 59% of respondents, but the numbers quickly drop from there. The highest additional fees some Americans would be willing to pay ranged from $1-$10 (41%) to more than $10 (18%), while 41% would not be willing to pay any additional fees.
In other words, Americans will enjoy the convenience of ultra-fast drone delivery, but it better not cost a lot.