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Highest value shoppers are most sustainability conscious, reveals ESW data

The highest value consumers, who spend the most online and order most frequently, are also the most environmentally-conscious, seeking out and spending more with brands that prioritise sustainability, the latest research in the Sustainable Global Growth and Shopper Expectations report from ESW, the global DTC ecommerce leader, shows.

ESW’s research of more than 16,000 shoppers from 16 countries revealed that 83% of consumers consider sustainability when making a purchase, increasing to more than nine out of ten (91%) cross-border online shoppers – whose average annual online spend is +4% than domestic shoppers across all product categories. 

Martim Avillez Oliveira, Chief Executive Officer, ESW – Europe and UK, said: “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.  To reach these shoppers brands must prioritise sustainability, transparency and positive environmental practices from day one.”

Four out of every ten (39%) Gen Z shoppers and one of every three (34%) Millennial respondents report 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 ecommerce spending this year.  94% of Gen Z and 93% of Millennial respondents reported considering sustainability when making an online purchasing decision in comparison to 88% of Gen X shoppers and 77% of Baby Boomers.

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 luxury shoppers consider sustainability when purchasing ahead of beauty (87%), consumer electronics (87%) and apparel (84%). 

In terms of environmentally-conscious services from brands and retailers, shoppers favour sustainable packaging and delivery, indicating environmentally friendly packaging options (46%), sustainable shipping (43%), less packaging overall (42%) and green delivery options (35%) as the options they prioritise when making an online purchase. 

“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.  Brands know that making and distributing environmentally conscious products is expensive, but they don’t need to overhaul entire supply chains to satisfy shoppers’ sustainability demands.  Working with partners and vendors, such as ESW, that offer carbon-neutral delivery and provide sustainable packaging helps brands meet customer expectations and support the ongoing global drive to limit the impact of consumption on the environment,” he added.

ESW provides 100% carbon neutral shipping to its clients, which include Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, J. Crew, and other leading brands extending beyond just transcontinental air freight to include first, middle, and last mile deliveries.  ESW’s offsets are achieved through the funding of renewable energy production by supporting EcoAct-verified wind farm projects.


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