It may not come as a surprise, but research seems to have confirmed that the highest value e-shoppers are the most sustainability-conscious in a world of consumers who are generally prioritising eco-awareness more often.
That’s what data from global DTC e-commerce specialist ESW reveals. It said the highest-spending shopper cohorts, as well as younger groups like Millennials and Gen Z, are most influenced by sustainability credentials when buying online.
Products with a strong eco edge have long been seen as more expensive than ‘regular’ items, which is perhaps why the luxury of being able to be more sustainable might be more pronounced among more affluent shoppers.
ESW spoke to more than 16,000 shoppers from 16 countries and found 83% of them consider sustainability when making a purchase, increasing to more than nine out of ten (91%) cross-border e-shoppers – whose average annual online spend is 4% more than domestic shoppers across all product categories.
That 4% may not be a huge figure but it’s still an important difference.
“Today’s most coveted high-frequency, high-spending customers prioritise sustainability when buying online and are actively modifying their behaviour according to their desire to consume and buy in a more eco-conscious manner,” said ESW Europe and UK CEO Martim Avillez Oliveira. “To reach these shoppers brands must prioritise sustainability, transparency and positive environmental practices from day one.”
The survey also showed 39% of Gen Z shoppers and 34% of Millennial respondents shopping cross-border 12 or more times annually, with 73% of Millennial shoppers planning to spend the same or more online in 2023 — making this cohort the leader in global e-commerce spending this year.
And their attitudes to sustainability? Well, 94% of Gen Z and 93% of Millennial respondents reported considering it when making an online purchasing decision in comparison to 88% of Gen X shoppers and 77% of Baby Boomers.
Clearly, all age groups are eco-focused, but those younger groups are almost universally influenced by sustainability features and that matters, not just today, but for the future as those shoppers grow richer.
ESW added that for brands and retailers looking to sell cross-border, markets with more young shoppers report prioritising sustainability criteria during their purchasing consideration phase – led by India (98%), China (94%), UAE (94%) and Mexico (93%).
Across product categories, 93% of specific luxury shoppers consider sustainability when purchasing, ahead of beauty shoppers (87%), consumer electronics (87%) and apparel (84%).
And the things they want to see are environmentally-friendly packaging options (46%), sustainable shipping (43%), less packaging overall (42%) and green delivery options (35%).
What it all means is that “retailers can be sure customers will do more than virtue signal when it comes to sustainability with shoppers acting on their concerns for the environment,” Avillez Oliveira added.
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