Conscious online ordering behavior among residents in the center
Ede, October 8, 2020 – Consumers are willing to adjust their behavior for a more sustainable delivery of an online purchase. For example, 42% of consumers is positive about waiting longer for an order if it is more sustainable. Only 12% says it does not want to do this. 15% of consumers are willing to pay for a delivery with less CO2emissions. This percentage has decreased slightly, because before the COVID-19 crisis this was still 17%. This is apparent from the new Sustainability Monitor for the e-commerce sector of Thuiswinkel.org, which was carried out by StakeholderWatch.
At the beginning of this year, Thuiswinkel.org started monitoring public opinion on e-commerce and sustainability. Wijnand Jongen, director of Thuiswinkel.org: “The e-commerce sector is organized very efficiently and that is beneficial for the climate, but many consumers appear to have a different view. When making sustainable choices, it is important for both online stores and consumers to know what a sustainable way of purchasing is. The information from the monitor helps us to better inform consumers about making a sustainable choice and to help online stores respond to consumer wishes in the further sustainability of the sector.”
Sustainable online shopping more popular in the city
People's living situation makes a big difference to their willingness to engage in sustainable online ordering behaviour. Residents of city centers (24%) are much more likely to pay for a sustainable supply than people who live in residential areas (17%), in a village (14%), or outside built-up areas (10%). 23% of the residents of the center also considers the sustainability of the webshop in the decision whether or not to make a purchase there. This is much less the case for residents of a village (16%), suburban area (18%) or in the countryside (18%). City dwellers also more often choose a collection point for sustainability reasons: 35% of the residents of the center and 33% of the residents of the suburbs consciously opt for collection points. For village and rural residents, this concerns 28% and 25% respectively. People in a city center also feel more concerned about an order (18%) compared to a percentage between 7% and 11% for the groups outside the center.
Difference in generations: Millennials tend to make less sustainable choices
It is striking that Millennials (born between 1980 and 1994) in particular, compared to other generations, have been less and less willing to make sustainable choices when it comes to online shopping in the last six months. The oldest generation (baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1961) is the most likely to adopt sustainable behavior when shopping online. Preferably 50% is very willing to wait longer for an order if it is more sustainable and 17% is willing to pay extra for less CO2emissions. Until the summer of 2020, Millennials were also known as sustainable: 40% percent of them were willing to wait and 18% indicated that they were willing to pay for less CO2emissions. Since the summer, however, this enthusiasm has fallen rapidly: now only a third of Millennials want to wait (34%) and only 13% indicate that they want to pay. This decreases their willingness to pay for CO2reduction below that of Generation X (1961-1980) and Generation Z (1996-2005) with 14% and 18%, respectively. No generation often feels burdened when it comes to online shopping, although this is more common among the younger generations of GenZ (14%) and Millennials (12%) than it is among Boomers and Generation X (7%).
Lack of knowledge of sustainable delivery options
“Only 12% of consumers believe that online ordering and next day delivery is a sustainable shopping option. It turns out that it is quite difficult for consumers to determine what an environmentally friendly option is, because this is really one of the most sustainable options in the Netherlands. The logistics processes are well organized here, especially with regard to next-day delivery. The vans can be well filled”, Wijnand Jongen responds. “The CO2The impact of an online delivery is estimated to be approximately equal to a visit to the physical store, depending on factors such as distance and mode of transport. This is because shops are often delivered daily with trucks in the city center. Parcel delivery is organized very efficiently in the Netherlands, because parcels from different stores all go into one bus that can deliver up to 200 orders. A few car journeys from consumers to the store deliver more CO2emissions on a package bus ride.”
The Sustainability Monitor shows that 63% of consumers considers delivery to a collection point and then pick it up by bicycle as an environmentally friendly option. Jongen: “Contrary to the current image, a collection point does not provide any environmental benefits compared to home delivery, even if the consumer picks up the package on foot or by bicycle. It does have that potential if a large part of consumers were to choose this option. With the Bewust Bezorgd program, Thuiswinkel.org tries to provide more insight into the sustainability of various delivery options. If you want to make a sustainable choice as a consumer, it is important to know what the best option is.”
But 5% of all vans in inner cities deliver packages
When asked how many of the delivery vans in the Netherlands are used for the e-commerce sector, consumer estimates are many times higher than reality. 36% of respondents think that 30-50% of the vans deliver packages and 32% even thinks 50-80%. Boy: “The perception here is also at odds with reality. The percentage of delivery vans that drive for the e-commerce sector is only 5% (in the city), according to research by a number of research bureaus commissioned by the Top Sector Logistics. Emissions from e-commerce logistics total approximately 252,000 tons of CO2. This corresponds to approximately 2.5% of the total Dutch CO2emissions in logistics flows. The share probably seems so much higher for people because the parcel vans stop in front of the door, while the buses of the construction sector and services of the self-employed are less visible. Most vans drive for these sectors.”
Sustainability according to customers
Consumers were also asked what actions they think e-commerce companies could take to become more sustainable. 11 options were presented. Less plastic use is considered very important by most respondents (78%), followed by less use of packaging materials in general (70%). According to the consumer, less important for sustainability is that there will be more collection points; 47% considers this important. Wijnand Jongen: “The sector's objective is to reduce CO . by 50% by 20252 compared to 2018. This is partly due to higher efficiency and an increase in emission-free vehicles. With regard to sustainability, it is important that companies have a clear picture of which measures have the most impact and that they take into account what consumers consider important.”
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