Shoppers balance price with sustainability

U.S. consumers want sustainable products, but at affordable prices.

Consumers want retailers to align with sustainable values, but also provide low costs.

According to “How To Sell Direct In The Age Of The Conflicted Shopper,” a study of 8,000 global shoppers (including U.S.) from e-commerce and mail delivery solutions Asendia, a leading 52% of U.S. respondents consider price in their buying decisions, followed by value for money (44%). 

Looking ahead, 70% of U.S. respondents said they planned to cut back on spending in 2023 due to economic uncertainty.

Sustainability findings

Three-quarters (76%) of U.S. respondents considered themselves to be sustainably minded in their consumption habits, including 85% of millennials. Over two-fifths (38%) plan to consume less but more sustainably by purchasing second-hand items in 2023, while 26% intend to buy less by using retailers’ repair or upcycling and circular retail initiatives.

In addition, 47% of U.S. respondents said they are buying organically, 36% are buying eco-friendly products, and 24% are choosing vegan goods.

Despite the popularity of sustainable consumption, 26% of U.S. Gen Z respondents who identified as sustainable shoppers buy fast fashion, and 18% of U.S. millennial respondents who identified as sustainable shoppers buy denim, often considered to be an environmentally poor apparel choice.

Other sustainability-related data points from U.S. respondents include:

  • The top consideration for international fulfillment was knowing where their order is being shipped from to better understand the cost and distance (carbon impact) of the product reaching them (41%).
  • In terms of steps to improve deliveries, preparing orders with reusable-only packaging topped demands across international and domestic fulfillment (36% and 35% respectively), while 23% wanted 100% carbon-neutral deliveries on international orders and 24% wanted the option for electric vehicles (EVs) to provide domestic fulfillment. 
  • Close to half (48%) would pay more for faster fulfillment, while 23% would pay more for greener fulfillment options, even if the item took longer to arrive; and 21% would pay more for 100% carbon-neutral deliveries.

[Read more: Why, when and how consumers care about sustainability]

Asendia performed original research of more than 8,000 global shoppers in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, and Hong Kong. Each individual market polled had a sample size of over 1,000 shoppers. The research was conducted via online polling by Savanta on behalf of Asendia in February 2023.

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