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STUDY: Two-Thirds of Consumers Expect to Receive Drone-Delivered Packages in Next Five Years

CHICAGO – February 25, 2015 – Consumers want more than fast delivery – they now want it within the hour. According to the Walker Sands 2015 Future of Retail Study, two-thirds of consumers expect to receive their first drone-delivered package in the next five years, and nearly 80 percent are willing to pay for it.

The annual retail technology study released today by Walker Sands Communications, a full-service public relations and digital marketing firm for B2B and technology companies, reveals that 36 percent of consumers expect to receive a drone-delivered package in the next two years. The new report comes on the heels of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announcing proposed new rules for drones that wouldn’t allow delivery by unmanned aircraft until at least 2017.

The Walker Sands 2015 Future of Retail Study, based on a survey of 1,400 U.S. consumers, finds that the hype around drones created by e-commerce companies like Amazon and Alibaba has caused a gap between expectations and reality.

“Despite the excitement of customers and retailers, drones have effectively been grounded,” said Dave Parro, director of the retail technology practice at Walker Sands. “Consumers have embraced the idea of drone delivery and are ready for the technology right now, but there are still some major barriers retailers are facing before they can make real headway with commercial deliveries.”

Drones may drive even higher online sales

Drone-delivered packages may be a big push toward a future where even more purchases are made online across an increasing number of categories. The Future of Retail study shows that consumers are shopping online more frequently for more kinds of products, and 79 percent of survey respondents say drone delivery to their doorstep within an hour of placing an order would make them more likely to shop with a retailer.

More than three-quarters of consumers are willing to pay for drone delivery, with 48 percent saying they would pay at least $5 per order. 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.

Consumers are open to getting a variety of products delivered via drone, with the highest percentage being open to books (74 percent), and clothing and apparel (73 percent).

When it comes to barriers, those not willing to get any products delivered via drone (12 percent) are most worried about safety (74 percent), cost (69 percent), privacy (64 percent) and theft (58 percent).

To view the full results of the 2015 Future of Retail Study, visit


The Walker Sands’ 2015 Future of Retail Study surveyed more than 1,400 online consumers across the U.S. on their spending behaviors in the past year and preferences for future spending. The survey analyzed consumer behavior and preferences for making purchases online and in store. Responses were further broken down by demographics, including age and gender. Walker Sands works with large retail technology companies and similar research is often assembled for clients through the Walker Sands analytics team.

About Walker Sands
Walker Sands is a public relations and digital marketing agency for technology and business-to-business companies. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, Walker Sands was founded in 2001 to provide data-driven marketing support for a wide array of companies with the business mission of providing best-in-class communications counsel and services. Walker Sands is a two-time Inc. 5000 Honoree and has received several other industry-specific awards, such as PRSA Skylines, Hermes and PR Daily, among others. To learn more, visit