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.
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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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