Apr 17, 2023
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Consumer expectations for retailer sustainability are rising - RTS report

Apr 17, 2023

Sustainability continues to be high on consumer agendas despite the cost-of-living crisis, according to new research.

Retail Technology Show

Half of UK shoppers would now support a delivery tax for online retailers levied to offset carbon emissions caused by e-commerce fulfilment, according to the Retail Technology Show, taking place on 26-27 April at London’s Olympia.

A study it commissioned also showed many UK shoppers are now buying pre-loved or reconditioned items. 

Research of over 1,000 UK consumers showed 76% of shoppers believe retailers could do more to be sustainable. Meanwhile, 67% of UK consumers said making fulfilment carbon-neutral was one of the main ways retailers could improve green retailing, with 50% now in support of online retailers being taxed to offset carbon emissions generated from deliveries. That rises to 56% of Gen Z consumers. 

However, while consumers are demanding greener delivery options, speed and cost still top shopper delivery demands. Some 68% said speed of delivery was their top consideration, followed by the cost of delivery not being too expensive (53%) or being free (51%). This follows recent research by Asendia that showed while 48% would pay more for faster fulfilment, a smaller 23% would pay more for 100% carbon-neutral deliveries.

Circular retail was also a growing area that shoppers polled by Retail Technology Show felt retail businesses could improve, with 71% believing that offering repair services could help retailers become greener, a service many retailers have started trialing as part of their sustainability efforts.

Some 44% of UK shoppers said they already use recycling services from retailers, while 38% are choosing recyclable or products using minimal packaging and 34% are using refill packs to cut down on packaging waste.

With demand for resale retail formats also booming, 35% of UK shoppers are now buying pre-loved or reconditioned items, while a further 30% are opting to buy secondhand to reduce the number of new items they buy and minimise the environmental impact of their consumption.

Matt Bradley, Event Director for the Retail Technology Show, said: “The green retailing imperative continues to grow and is now a mainstay in consumers’ demands when shopping.  This means it will increasingly impact wider areas within the retail business, from the supply chain to returns and new retail formats, operations and services.”

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