As online shopping skyrockets, Americans are terrified of catching COVID from their packages

NEW YORK — Americans may be stuck at home, but they still need plenty of stuff to keep their homes running smoothly. A new survey finds the coronavirus pandemic has caused a dramatic rise in home deliveries, with shoppers receiving over 60 percent more home deliveries since the start of COVID-19. Respondents say it’s a trend that’s likely here to stay.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 Americans, commissioned by Alarm.com, reveals that 48 percent feel that shopping online is safer than doing it in-person. Another 44 percent also say it’s more convenient. On average, people now receive 10 deliveries per month at home, compared to six prior to the pandemic. Alarm.com predicts that these changes in consumer habits will become the norm for the future.

Even shopping online can be a scary process?

online shopping packagesDue to factors like social distancing and stock shortages in stores, people have become more open to ordering everything from clothing (37%), to takeout (27%), to even toilet paper (25%) online. More than half the poll (53%) have supported a local business by ordering from them online. Seven in 10 Americans also said they appreciate delivery workers more than they did a year ago because of how hard and reliably they’ve worked through the pandemic.

The survey also reveals that people are adding new habits and safety precautions to their package delivery routines. Two out of every five Americans now wash their hands after handling packages. One third disinfect deliveries before opening them. One in six (18%) leave their packages unopened for an extended period to allow germs to die.

Another challenge for package carriers is that people are hesitant to open their doors when deliveries arrive. More than one in three (35%) respondents say they wait until delivery drivers leave before they open the door. Over two-thirds (68%) say they don’t open their doors unless they’re certain of who’s on the other side.

Forty-one percent say they don’t trust that visitors are always who they say they are, while 31 percent are worried about potential burglars posing as delivery drivers to case their home. Twenty-nine percent say they’re concerned about being exposed to germs at their door.

Package security is still a problem

online shopping packagesMany Americans worry about the safety of packages left unattended by their doorsteps. Almost half (47%) of respondents said they worry about having deliveries left in the rain or damaged before arrival. Nearly as many people (46%) worry about having packages delivered late. Overall, only 57 percent of Americans feel comfortable having packages delivered without a signature.

“People have discovered that adaptive solutions like home deliveries bring real benefits that they’ll want to keep, as well as new challenges to solve,” says Anne Ferguson, vice-president of marketing at Alarm.com, in a statement. “The data suggests that a permanent shift in how we manage our home essentials may be occurring. We’re taking advantage of expanded shopping and delivery options, while finding new ways to manage safety worries and the increased traffic at our front doors.”

To combat these concerns, video doorbell installations are on the rise. More than half of respondents with video doorbells use them to check their package deliveries. Fifty-four percent use theirs to double-check who’s at their door, while 49 percent use them to keep a vigilant eye on the neighborhood.

“Knowing, seeing and hearing what’s happening at your door all on your mobile device makes a big difference,” adds Ferguson, whose company recently released the first commercially available touchless video doorbell. “Keeping deliveries safe is just the start. A touch-free video doorbell that’s part of a modern security system is an affordable and ideal home upgrade to make that helps us all stay vigilant and protect one another.”