Shipping point

It’s shaping up to be another busy holiday season for employees like Alexandria, VA, Letter Carrier Cruz Rivera, shown making deliveries earlier this year.

The reasons consumers shop online are changing in ways that could affect holiday shipping patterns, new research shows.

For years, shoppers made most of their online holiday purchases before Dec. 20, when many retailers stop offering free shipping.

But according to recent estimates by the Adobe software company, year-to-year online sales will grow 24 percent during the final two weeks of December — which could mean more last-minute deliveries.

“Faster shipping and retail promotions starting earlier than ever are all contributing to the extended shopping season,” Mickey Mericle, an Adobe vice president, said.

The research also shows online shoppers are now motivated more by convenience than bargains, which used to be the primary driver of internet purchases.

Although Adobe predicts an 11 percent surge in online sales nationwide, the increases will vary by state.

Washington, DC, Washington, Nevada, Kansas and Nebraska will see the highest growth, while Delaware, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi will see the lowest.

A separate study by the Deloitte consulting firm predicts holiday shoppers for the first time will split their budgets equally between physical and online stores.

However, Deloitte finds shoppers are becoming harder to please: Just 42 percent consider three- to four-day shipping “fast,” down from 63 percent last year.