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PFSweb Research Reveals Demand for Brands to be More Environmentally Friendly Following the Emergence of a New ‘Conscious Consumer’

ALLEN, Texas, July 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new survey of consumers in the UK, Republic of Ireland and France, conducted by the PFS and LiveArea business units of PFSweb, Inc. (NASDAQ: PFSW), reveals a new ‘conscious consumer’ has emerged from the coronavirus lockdown, putting brands under increasing pressure to respond with improved environmentally friendly practices.

For many consumers, the temporary closure of retail stores has meant that their attention has turned to the sustainability of the buying cycle and the environmental impact associated with their changing shopping habits. Consumers are now in the position to more carefully consider what, where and how they purchase items. This means brands must assess the impact their offerings have on the environment – from sourcing to packaging and delivery – to gain and maintain loyalty.

Over a third (37%) of shoppers from the UK and Republic of Ireland say they are now more conscious of the impact that their online shopping habits have on the environment than they were before the pandemic. In fact, 40% of consumers feel online retailers and brands should continue with reduced carbon footprint initiatives which include changes to product delivery and sourcing.

Key findings from the PFSweb and Arlington Research survey:

  • Nearly three-quarters of consumers expect online retailers and brands to use recyclable packaging (73%) or minimize their use of packaging (74%)
  • For 43%, in-store purchase and buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) is their preferred shopping method, due to the lower environmental impact when compared to ordering online for delivery
  • When making a purchase, over a third (35%) of consumers said the product had to be naturally sourced, locally sourced or sustainable
  • Only 37% of consumers are satisfied with the communication from online retailers or brands on the environmental impact of the groceries and household product items they have bought
  • 71% of consumers would change their online shopping habits if online retailers and brands communicated that returns go to landfill
  • Almost three-quarters (72%) of consumers plan to continue with their changed shopping habits following the pandemic

Mike Willoughby, CEO at PFSweb, commented, “Traditional retail foot traffic has been impacted significantly by the COVID-19 crisis, dramatically accelerating the established trends toward tech-enabled shopping and delivery. As conscious consumers shift their focus to digital channels, they will hold those channels accountable for sustainable practices even while they continue to demand convenience and safety. Brands must re-evaluate their operational practices considering the new conscious consumer and provide choices for product sourcing, packaging and delivery, which align with the consumer’s sustainability objectives. Our recent experience clearly shows brands must adjust their operations and work with partners who are able to quickly adjust to rapidly shifting consumer sentiment by providing omnichannel solutions for BOPIS and curbside delivery, environmentally friendly packaging options and sustainable returns processing. This is one more opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in new ways and differentiate themselves in the process during a year full of surprises.”

About the Research
PFS and LiveArea commissioned research agency, Arlington Research, to survey 2,500 consumers about their current shopping habits, environmental and ethical expectations from online retailers and brands, and how their buying behaviour has changed during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nationally representative interviews were carried out with adults aged 18 and over, with nationally representative quotas set on gender, age and region at a country-wide level. Respondents came from the UK (1,500 respondents), Republic of Ireland (500 respondents) and France (500 respondents). Fieldwork took place between May 28th and June 4th, 2020.

Further insight from this study can be accessed here.

About PFSweb, Inc.
PFSweb (NASDAQ: PFSW) is a global commerce services company that manages the online customer shopping experience on behalf of major branded manufacturers and retailers. Across two business units – LiveArea for strategy consulting, creative design, digital marketing, and web development services, and PFS for order fulfillment, contact center, payment processing/fraud management, and order management services – they provide solutions to a broad range of Fortune 500® companies and household brand names such as Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal USA, ASICS, PANDORA, Ralph Lauren, Shiseido Americas, the United States Mint, and many more. PFSweb enables these brands to provide a more convenient and brand-centric online shopping experience through both traditional and online business channels. The company is headquartered in Allen, TX with additional locations around the globe. For more information, please visit www.pfsweb.com.

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