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More than half of shoppers interested in environmentally-friendly home delivery – with 54% willing to wait longer for their order and 20% to pay more: study

Sustainability remains a priority even in challenging times. Image: AdobeStock

More than half of shoppers are interested in receiving their online orders through environmentally-friendly delivery methods – and 54% are prepared to wait longer for an item if it is being shipped by a more sustainable method, a new survey suggests, and 20% prepared to pay more.

However, more than a third (38%) don’t think retailers are doing a good job of using sustainable practices. 

Descartes, which specialises in developing on-demand retail logistics software, questioned more than 8,000 shoppers in nine European markets including the UK, as well as Canada and the US, for its study, Retailers: sustainability is not a challenge, it’s an opportunity

It found that around half of online purchases are currently for home delivery (54% UK; 46% across the 10 markets studied) and that’s unlikely to change much in the future (52%/47%). Many respondents (41% UK/45% across markets) said that helping the environment was quite or very important, and a similar proportion take decisions based on that (32%/39%). Across markets, 40% said that convenience was more important than environmental issues, but 37% said that convenience was equally important. More than half (54%) said they would accept longer lead times from an environmentally friendly company, while 20% said they would pay more. One in five (20%) want to see delivery companies using electric vehicles today – but 53% expect them to do so in five years time. Today, 23% of respondents say it is quite or very important to them understand the carbon footprint of their delivery – rising to 51% in five years. 

The sustainable measures that shoppers are most interested in include combining all orders into a single weekly delivery (29% quite important/21% very important), seller recommendations of the most environmentally friendly delivery option (29%/19%) and collecting the order in-store (28%/19%). 

“The mistake that many retailers are making is viewing home delivery sustainability as yet another challenge from the consumer instead of an opportunity to capture market share, reduce delivery costs and help the environment,” said Chris Jones, EVP, industry and services at Descartes. “The study shows that many consumers prefer to buy more from those retailers with superior sustainable delivery practices and to take eco-friendly delivery options that reduce environmental impact and delivery costs at the same time.”

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