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Increasing online shopping is driving consumers to worry about sustainability, studies show

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More than half (57%) of UK online shoppers worry that the rise in online shopping is a threat to the environment, with the pandemic seeing around a fifth (19%) planning to be more sustainable this Christmas. 

Two separate studies have found that British consumers are more environmentally-conscious than ever following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and that is starting to influence their online shopping behaviour.

According to a study by Sendcloud, 38% of UK online shoppers say they are willing to pay extra for CO2-neutral ‘green delivery’, although this is still outweighed by customers’ demand for options such as next-day delivery (42%).

A similar study conducted by Fashion Retail Academy, found that a third of shoppers in England are more conscious of sustainable fashion as a result of the pandemic – with 37% of 18 to 24 year olds planning to buy more environmentally-friendly products compared to a year ago.

With more people confined to their homes in recent months, online shopping has become the safest and most convenient way to purchase not only essential items, but also ‘pick-me-ups’ in the form of fashion, furniture and food. 

In fact, 70% of UK consumers say they are planning to shop online more than they did last festive season as they continue to enjoy browsing from the comfort of their own homes. 

Local independent stores also appear set to be one of the net beneficiaries of the nexus of constrained mobility, retail therapy and worries about delivery emmissions, with a fifth (20%) of UK shoppers planning to do more Christmas shopping in local independent stores compared to last year, while only 13.8% plan to do less. This trend is predicted to continue into Christmas, with non-essential retailers in England allowed to reopen their doors today. 

Again, it seems the younger generations are responsible for the increasingly popularity of localisation, with 32% of 18 to 24 year olds planning to do more local Christmas shopping, compared to 14% of the over 55s.

Lee Lucas, principal of the Fashion Retail Academy, comments: “The shift towards sustainable shopping presents a great opportunity for retailers to widen their range of products to cater for this new type of environmentally-conscious consumer. With shops now finally open again after the second lockdown, retailers across the country should be mindful of product placement in stores, shop windows and advertising as consumers start to vote with their feet over sustainable goods.“

Rob van den Heuvel, CEO of Sendcloud, adds: “There are some positive signs that consumer demand is changing the way we shop and deliver in the future, with more sustainable packaging and electric delivery vans making head in the UK and across Europe. Smarter delivery options, such as real-time delivery notifications, are also helping increase the first-time deliveries and reduce the carbon footprint of shipping services.” 

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