Consumers Willing To Delay Deliveries If It’s More Sustainable

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Just in time for Earth Day, the 2022 Consumer Sustainability Survey reveals retail consumer preferences related to sustainable shopping habits.

About 86% of consumers are willing to delay eCommerce deliveries to improve sustainability if, given an incentive to do so, a new survey finds.

The 2022 Consumer Sustainability Survey revealed retail consumer preferences related to sustainable shopping habits. The survey from Blue Yonder found that of those respondents willing to wait, 29% are willing to delay deliveries up to five days and 28% are willing to delay a week or more.

The data also showed the COVID-19 pandemic had a noticeable impact on consumer sustainability habits. Around 44% of consumers said their interest in shopping sustainably increased since the start of the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, many businesses had to temporarily trade-off sustainability for public health and safety. Essential stores such as groceries eliminated reusable bag use and nearly all brick-and-mortar shops strengthened or in some cases added new online commerce operations with delivery options. This shifted more sales online that previously would have occurred in-store,” said Edward Wong, Senior Vice President, Global Retail Sector Leader at Blue Yonder. “As retail emerges from pandemic-era practices, sustainability is back in focus. The findings of this study reflect the paradigm shift toward a more environmentally friendly supply chain as consumers are now willing to do their part to embrace more sustainable shopping habits.”

Consumers willing to do their part

To help limit the environmental impact of their online shopping, the survey found that consumers are willing to do their part by recycling, spending more on sustainable packaging, or even setting minimum spending requirements on deliveries:

  • 81% of consumers recycle boxes/bags from in-store and online shopping at least half the time, and 53% recycle the packaging 75-100% of the time
  • 64% are willing to spend more on sustainable packaging, with 44% willing to spend up to 5% more
  • 40% agree there should be a minimum amount a consumer must spend to qualify for expedited shipping or shipping in general

Social media influences shopping frequency

The survey also revealed that social media has influenced 52% of consumers’ sustainable shopping frequency. 45% said they were slightly-to-moderately influenced and 7% said they were moderately to significantly influenced.

Facebook and Instagram had the biggest influence with 31% and 28%, respectively, for those influenced by social media. Facebook is the most popular platform for ages 45 and older, and Instagram for ages 18-44. Surprisingly, TikTok (16%) and Snapchat (5%) were not as large of an influence on consumers overall. However, these platforms had a larger appeal for respondents ages 18-29, with TikTok at 28%.

“Businesses are in a unique position to start making smarter decisions that consider not only profit but the environment and humankind. With the use of powerful new technologies, these factors are no longer mutually exclusive,” continued Wong. “Forecasting demand using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is one of the most effective ways to do this. These advanced tools can detect obscure business patterns from hundreds of variables, including the weather, price elasticity, and events, to predict sales at the most granular levels. This allows businesses to operate responsibly (and profitably) via reduced waste, more efficient production, smarter transportation strategies, and reduced resource consumption.”