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Consumer Sustainability Report 2021

Marc Mezzacca
Published on: 01/27/21

Online commerce in 2020 witnessed rapid and historic growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As shoppers rapidly transitioned to digital to get goods without encountering crowds, and still continue to do so, there are environmental considerations on the impact of this societal shift. 

In this report we examine consumers' perception of their impact on climate change, and how interested they are in sustainability as it compares to their preferences for convenience and budgetary restrictions.

KEY REPORT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • E-commerce shopping has accelerated due to the pandemic, but consumers are mixed on if that is worse for the environment. 79% of consumer respondents stated making more purchases this year compared to last year specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, over half (55%) of consumers stated they felt buying online and having goods shipped directly to them has the same impact on the environment as buying in-store.
  • Almost all consumers would shop more sustainably if there was some monetary incentive or discount. 92% of consumers felt a discount or tax credit would be at least somewhat effective in swaying them to shop sustainable brands. And over half (55%) of consumers felt a discount or tax credit would be very or extremely effective to push them toward sustainable brands.
  • When asked directly if respondents felt data privacy or climate change was more important to them, the majority favored data privacy. While 73% of US consumers felt climate change would impact them in their lifetime, 60% of US consumers felt their data privacy was a more important issue to them than climate change; Only 35% felt climate change was more important to them over data privacy.

OTHER KEY TOPICS:

    • There is a generational gap in perspective on climate change. Overall our data suggests that younger generations are more concerned with climate change than older generations. Additionally, older generations may prioritize other concerns such as data privacy, while Young Millennials (aged 24-29) were the most likely to correlate climate change to human-related activities.

    • Consumers seem unsure whether purchasing goods online over in-store is more or less beneficial for the environment. Our research suggests that consumers are not clear on what the environmental impact from increased e-commerce purchasing compared to in-store purchasing. 55% of consumers stated they felt buying online and having goods shipped directly to them has the same impact on the environment as buying in-store, while the remaining were split at 22% each on if it was better or worse for the environment.

    • Consumer perceptions of major retailers when it comes to sustainability vary, but marketing and advertising may play an influential role.

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about the author

Marc Mezzacca
Marc Mezzacca is CEO of CouponFollow, a consumer savings engine that surfaces popular coupons. He has been in the coupon and deals industry for over a decade with a deep interest in evolving e-commerce technologies.