Consumers Really Want Drone Delivery, Are Willing To Pay For It

Chris CrumTechnology

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Earlier, we looked at a report from Walker Sands, which looks at consumers' online shopping habits, and bodes well for Amazon's new Home Services offering.

In a separate section of the report that we didn't get into, they look at consumers' attitudes toward the use of drones for product delivery, which may give us an idea of how people will respond to another project Amazon is trying to get off the ground (no pun intended...seriously).

While acknowledging that the reality of drone-based delivery is likely still pretty far off, the report finds that two-thirds of consumers (66%) think they will receive their first drone-delivered package within the next five years, and that consumers embrace the concept.

"Consumers want more than fast delivery –they now want it within the hour," it says. "Drone-delivered packages may be an even bigger push toward a future where the majority of purchases are made online across multiple product categories. Four in five consumers say drone delivery to their doorsteps within an hour would make them more likely to purchase from a retailer."

"Consumers don’t just expect to receive online orders by drone – they are also willing to pay for it," it adds. "Almost 80 percent of consumers are willing to pay for drone delivery if their order arrived within an hour, with nearly half (48 percent) saying they would pay at least $5. Only 23 percent of consumers say they aren’t willing to pay for drone delivery, suggesting rapid delivery by air is fertile ground for retailers like Amazon that plan to push the limits of fast delivery."

88% of consumers would trust drones with delivery of at least one type of product. Most say they would to so with books, clothing, and pet items. They're not quite as eager to have drones deliver more expensive things. Only 15% would want to use drone delivery for luxury items.

While most consumers are apparently ready for the world of drones flying around everywhere delivering packages, some are unsurprisingly concerned about safety. The report found that among the 12% of those who said they wouldn't trust drone delivery for any items, 74% cited safety concerns. 69% cited cost concerns, while 64% cited privacy, and 58% cited theft concerns. 57% cited technology concerns.

Of course drone delivery is not going to happen without clearance from the authorities. Last month, the FAA granted Amazon an “experimental airworthiness certificate," which allows it to research and start training on its drones, but includes restrictions that prevent the company from sending the devices out of the pilot's view.

The certificate also requires Amazon to provide monthly data to the FAA.

“The company must report the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers’ instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links. The FAA includes these reporting requirements in all UAS experimental airworthiness certificates,” said the FAA.

In February, the FAA released its proposal for new regulations on commercial drones, which would make Amazon Prime Air pretty hard to execute as a service.

The company said in a statement, "The FAA’s proposed rules for small UAS could take one or two years to be adopted and, based on the proposal, even then those rules wouldn’t allow Prime Air to operate in the United States. The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers. We are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need.”

The offering is expected to be offered in Europe first.

Meanwhile, Google has been working to redesign its delivery drones after the initial design for "Project Wing" didn't quite work out.

Images via Amazon, Walker Sands

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.