Consumers Willing to Pay More, Wait Longer for Sustainably Delivered Products

by | May 8, 2014

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More than half of consumers are willing to pay at least 5 percent higher prices for products ordered online if they’re delivered sustainably, and 76 percent would wait at least one extra day for climate-friendly transport, according to a new study by business and technology consulting firm, West Monroe Partners.

Though consumers seem positive about greener delivery, the study found that US consumers are mostly unaware such delivery options exist.

In its Need for Green or Need for Speed study, West Monroe Partners surveyed more than 600 US consumers to determine what compromises they’d be willing to make for more sustainable delivery of products purchased online. Highlights from the study include:

  • 12 percent of US consumers would pay up to 10 percent more for sustainable delivery.
  • Annual income was not an influential factor in consumers’ willingness to pay more for sustainable delivery. In fact, respondents who earn over $100,000 a year were slightly less likely to accept higher prices for climate-friendly transport.
  • Age had only a minor impact on attitudes toward sustainability, with 18- to 25-year- olds slightly less likely to pay more for climate-friendly transport compared to 26- to 35-year-olds.

Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint conducted the same study in Europe and found consumers there are more aware of green delivery options. Of the 1,000 European respondents BearingPoint surveyed, nearly half were aware of climate-friendly shipping alternatives and one in five has already used them. Almost 60 percent were willing to pay more for green shipping and 76 percent were willing to wait up to three days longer for sustainable delivery.

The study concludes that e-commerce organizations therefore should consider new ways to promote delivery alternatives to please both consumers and shareholders. Firms should build sustainable processes into their supply chains and use tools to track and report on progress.

West Monroe and BearingPoint’s Logistics Emissions Calculator (LogEC) tool provides companies with detailed calculations and analyses regarding the environmental impact of their transportation while providing specialized optimization potentials, the consulting firm says.

Global consumers have clear and specific expectations for the role companies should play in addressing social and environmental issues with 93 percent wanting to see more of the products and services they use support corporate social responsibility efforts, according to a survey released last May.


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