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2022 Global E-commerce Environmental Impact Research Report: E-commerce Companies Are Implementing Solutions to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Online Shopping

By on March 14, 2022 0

Dublin, March 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “The environmental impact of e-commerce 2022” report has been added to from ResearchAndMarkets.com offer.

“The Environmental Impact of E-commerce 2021” provides an overview of the B2C e-commerce market and its environmental impact around the world. Among other findings, the publication reveals that more than 40% of European respondents were willing to pay a premium for green transport of online purchases.

The carbon footprint of e-commerce depends on several factors

According to research cited in the report, shopping online can have a lower carbon footprint than shopping in-store. However, the reduction in impact depends on several factors, including whether customers travel to retail stores by car or other means of transportation and return items purchased online, and if so, where and by what means of transport.


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Among the largest sources of emissions for online shopping, the source lists last mile delivery and energy consumption for IT, while for traditional shopping these include energy consumption from the building and the consumer’s journey to the physical store.

E-commerce companies are implementing solutions to reduce the environmental impact of online shopping

Many e-commerce companies, including Amazon, Alibaba, Zalando and OTTO, are implementing measures to reduce their environmental impact. These range from investing in electric vehicles, renewable energy, introducing reusable mailbags, optimizing the use of packaging materials, eliminating single-use plastics from packaging, among others.

Additionally, many companies, as well as start-ups, are emerging on the e-commerce scene with solutions to environmental issues. Some of them focus on reverse logistics; others focus on last mile delivery, returns and packaging issues.

For example, Fision, which specializes in 3D models for virtual fittings, was acquired by Zalando to solve the problem of fashion item returns. Major postal and parcel companies are also joining the movement. For example, Deutsche Post DHL Group has announced its intention to invest in a climate-neutral logistics solution, focusing on electric mobility and alternative fuels for aviation.

Main topics covered:

1. Management Summary

2. Overview and introduction

  • B2C e-commerce sales value, USD trillion, and share, % of total retail sales, 2019 – 2025f
  • Top 10 countries by retail e-commerce sales value, incl. China, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, in billion USD, 2020 & 2021e
  • Online grocery share of e-commerce sales, %, 2019 & 2020
  • Parcel volumes, in billions, 2014-2020 & 2026f
  • Share of traffic expressed in vehicle-kilometres generated in urban areas, by e-commerce and physical shops, in %, December 2020
  • Top 4 countries bought in last cross-border online purchase, as % of cross-border online shoppers, 2019 and 2020
  • Breakdown of time needed for cross-border delivery, in % of cross-border online shoppers, October 2020
  • Impact of e-commerce on the environment – Overview, December 2021
  • Comparison of the carbon footprint of a domestic online purchase and an average in-store purchase for the same non-food item with consumers driving to the store, in grams of CO2 equivalent per item, December 2020
  • Comparison of the carbon footprint of a national online purchase and an average in-store purchase for the same non-food item with average transportation habits, in grams of CO2 equivalent per item, December 2020
  • Comparison of the carbon footprint of a national online purchase and an average in-store purchase for the same non-food item with average transportation habits, in grams of CO2 equivalent per item, December 2020

3. Consumer attitudes towards sustainability

  • Attitudes towards online shopping, incl. Buying from retailers that offer efficient delivery or collection, buying eco-friendly and sustainable products, % of respondents, September 2021
  • Respondents revising their personal goal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in %, and attracted to eco-friendly brands, in % of respondents who agree or disagree that the pandemic made them review their life goal, in %, February 2021
  • Consumers who consider retailers somewhat or very important considering the environmental impact and sustainability of their operations, % of respondents, by age group and gender, 2021
  • Attitude towards online shops taking into account the environmental impact of their actions, in % of adult respondents, June 2021
  • Top nine fashion shopping picks, incl. “Value for Money” and “Sustainable production”, in % of respondents, 2021
  • Consumers who consider buying second-hand clothes important, % of respondents Consumers who regularly buy second-hand clothes, % of respondents, 2021
  • Attitude towards online shopping more sustainable than physical retail, % of respondents, April 2021
  • Attitude towards using the same packaging for returns, % of respondents, April 2021

4. Product Returns and Effect on the Environment

  • Volume of packages returned to online stores by UPS, in millions per week, week January 1, 2020 and week January 1, 2021f
  • Value of Returns, USD Billion, 2019 Holiday Season and 2020 Holiday Season
  • Number of parcels returned in e-commerce, in millions, and return rate, in %, 2019 & 2020e
  • Distribution of reasons for returning an item, in % of online buyers, 2020
  • Share of returns, by Australia, China, Cyprus, India and the United States, in % of cross-border online shoppers, October 2020

5. Special sales and their environmental impact

  • Lasting Trends of Singles Day in China, November 2021
  • Alibaba’s Gross Commodity Value by Singles’ Day Sales, USD Billion and Year-on-Year Change, %, 2020 & 2021
  • Retail e-commerce sales from November 1 to 29, 2021, in billion USD and in annual variation, in %, 2020 and 2021

6. Delivery and attitudes of online shoppers towards environmentally friendly options

  • Share of e-commerce in air freight, in %, 2021 & 2022f
  • Consumer attitudes towards sustainable delivery options from major retailers, % of respondents, by age group and average, January 2021
  • Willingness to pay extra for green transport of online purchases, % of respondents aged 18-24, June 2021
  • Distribution of attitudes towards carbon neutral delivery, in % of cross-border online shoppers, October 2020

7. Sustainable payments

  • Payment and Sustainability – Player Overview, December 2021

8. Sustainable travel

  • Carbon dioxide emissions from jet fuel combustion, tonnes, 2018-2020
  • Attitude towards more sustainable travel in the future as a result of the pandemic, % of adult respondents, March 2021
  • Attitudes towards sustainable travel, % of adult respondents, March 2021

9. Current players and developments

  • E-Commerce and Sustainability – Current Players and Developments, December 2021

Companies cited

  • AirWave Packaging Inc.
  • Alibaba Group Holding, Amazon.com Inc.
  • Partner Aspirations
  • Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited
  • Deutsche Post AG
  • Fision Corporation
  • Online Services Flipkart Pvt. ltd.
  • float
  • IKEA retail
  • JD.Com Inc.
  • Nium Inc.
  • Otto GmbH & Co KG
  • PayPal Holdings Inc.
  • Quadient AG
  • Taobao Mall
  • tred
  • Zalando SE

For more information on this report, visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/aywcgx

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