Poor prospects for tips for parcel delivery drivers during the Christmas season
During the Christmas season, parcel delivery delivery services have to be fast on their feet and often do a lot of heavy lifting. But are they adequately compensated for this? A new study by the WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management comes to the conclusion that they need not have high hopes, at least when it comes to tips at the front door. Because especially those who do their Christmas shopping online are often stingy with the obulus for the delivery person.
December 09, 2021
Düsseldorf. Every year, parcel delivery services have to be on top form in December if all shipments are to reach their recipients on time. On peak days in the run-up to Christmas, up to 22 million items are delivered each day. At no time of the year is the stress for the delivery staff as great as now.
This raises the question of whether delivery staff feel the same way as waiters. When business is booming, they can earn a handsome sum on top of their regular salary through tips. Tipping, rounding up or giving a few extra coins are typical habits in restaurants. With tips, customers want to express something, for example, that the waiter was very attentive or that the cab driver drove well. But what about delivery people, an occupational group that is particularly in the spotlight right now? Every day, they ring the doorbells of 100 or more people and hand over things that are then placed under the Christmas tree as presents a few days later. Can they hope for a new social norm that will reward them more often for their hard work?
To find out, the Chair of Logistics and Service Management at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management in Düsseldorf conducted a new, scientific study and surveyed 500 people who regularly order goods online. The respondents stated that they receive an average of four to five orders per month. On average, they receive 1.3 packages per delivery with an order value of 58 euros. The survey also showed that almost half (49.2%) of them had never tipped the delivery staff. 30.5% of respondents have already given a monetary tip - i.e. coins or bills. 10.4% have given small gifts such as chocolate or pastries. And 9.8% have already shown their appreciation in the past by giving money as well as gifts. The value of the individual tip or the individual gift amounted thereby on the average to scarcely 2.50 euro.
"The fact that people tip in restaurants or when food is delivered is a widespread norm," says Prof. Dr. Carl Marcus Wallenburg, holder of the Chair of Logistics and Service Management at WHU. "Accordingly, we found that people who frequently order food or fresh groceries online are also more likely to tip parcel deliveries. However, there were no differences in the amount of the tip compared to people who do not order food and fresh groceries online." There is, however, a clear urban-rural divide in terms of the amount tipped: On average, people in rural areas tip delivery staff nearly one euro more.
The study also found that very few people only tip because they feel obliged to do so. Instead, the focus is on giving something back for the service received, rewarding good performance or simply wanting to do the person a favor. People who like to do something good for the staff in the restaurant or elsewhere or to thank them for good service also showed themselves to be generous during the brief interaction at the front door.... In addition, it has been shown that people who increasingly buy typical Christmas gifts such as electrical appliances, toys or books online are significantly less likely to give tips or gifts upon delivery. Delivery staff therefore have a particularly bad hand in the current Christmas business with these customers.
Prof. Dr. Carl Marcus Wallenburg holds the Chair of Logistics and Service Management and is Executive Director of the Institute of Logistics Management at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management. He is European editor of the Journal of Business Logistics and co-chair of the CSCMP European Research Seminar on Logistics and SCM. He was chairman of the Scientific Commission on Logistics of the Association of University Teachers of Business Administration (VHB) and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Logistics Association.
Jan Eric Walsken is a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the Chair of Logistics and Service Management at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management at the Düsseldorf Campus. His research focuses on organizational motivation theory, especially in relation to rigid work processes and feedback systems.
Sophie Theres Panthel is a student assistant at the Chair of Logistics and Service Management at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management at the Düsseldorf Campus.