Smarty, an online shopping site, recently surveyed 1,000 American adults about their shopping and delivery preferences. Most consumers want better, faster delivery; 48% of consumers agree that they would pay more money for drone delivery if it meant getting their products within an hour.

The convenience associated with drones has real appeal, as 43% of those surveyed said they were “not concerned” about drone delivery and 51% said they would be “less concerned” about drone delivery if they were able to get products faster.

Consumers seem willing to pay more and explore new delivery methods to receive essential purchases quickly and in one piece. They chose a wide range of items they might receive via one hour drone delivery, including:

  • Food (40%)
  • Prescriptions and medications (38%)
  • Batteries (30%)
  • A smartphone, if theirs was lost, stolen or broken (30%)
  • Clothing (28%)
  • COVID tests (25%)
  • A new credit card, if theirs was lost or stolen (22%)
  • Alcohol (21%)
  • Their paycheck (20%)
  • Baby and/or children’s products (13%)

“As technology advances in the shopping industry, delivery methods might soon change to include alternate forms of transportation like drone deliveries,” said Vipin Porwal, CEO and founder of Smarty. “But consumers don’t seem concerned about technological advances as much as they are about receiving their purchases, especially if it means they get their products faster.”

Some Concerns About Drone Delivery

While there is enthusiasm for shopping services like one-hour drone delivery, shoppers did express concerns about drones. Top uncertainties include:

  • Items being ruined by drone travel (51%)
  • Drones breaking down and consumers not receiving their items (58%)
  • Drone delivery to the wrong address (58%)
  • Drones breaking down and consumers not getting refunds (54%)
  • Drones leaving items unattended, making it easier for porch bandits to steal packages (54%)
  • Lack of human interaction with delivery people (31%)

Fears about missing, stolen or damaged packages are also key reasons why consumers are hesitant about drone delivery; 37% of respondents were “worried” or “extremely worried” about having packages stolen. Many would be willing to pay more for delivery protection and 63% of those surveyed say they would pay for shipping insurance, if offered, to cover theft or damage. In addition, 52% say they would pay for a service that offered product protection to ensure that packages aren’t stolen or damaged.

According to Porwal, the survey shows that at-home deliveries and online shopping remain important to consumers. “Consumers are constantly looking for the best experience and have placed a big emphasis on effective delivery methods, including novel approaches like drone delivery – as long as they get the goods faster,” he said. “Retailers will continue to step up their efforts, looking for innovative ways to make exceptional customer service experiences happen for online shoppers.”