According to "Conscious Commerce," research conducted by Shopify, a provider of internet infrastructure for commerce, and the specialised company Sapio Research, climate change awareness is driving consumer choices.

The study found out that, for instance, 62% of consumers are unwilling to compromise on sustainability, even during this period of economic uncertainty.  

The study was carried ahead in October 2022 to understand how people plan to shop during the holiday season, and on their views on sustainable commerce. 

Shopify and Sapio Research co-designed the questionnaire and surveyed the behaviors and attitudes of 24,009 consumers across UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US and Canada. They also surveyed 9,012 business executives across the same countries. 

The research revealed how consumers and businesses are continuing to engage in sustainable practices, incentivizing solutions such as zero-carbon shipping and paying attention to climate-friendly practices, despite the crisis dictated by a rising cost of living and shrinking spending budgets. 

In addition, 82% of merchants surveyed globally stated how they believe there is a strong correlation between sustainability and improved business performance itself, for instance, how sustainable practices are now inescapable from business success.

"This report shows that awareness about the climate situation is driving consumer purchasing decisions, even under difficult economic circumstances. It is therefore in everyone's interest to implement sustainable practices, such as adopting a 'low or zero waste' approach to manufacturing and offering zero-emission shipping. We hope that more and more companies will join us in developing innovative carbon removal technologies, which is part of our goal to turn the tide on climate change," said Stacy Kauk, head of sustainability, Shopify.

Consumers are not giving up on sustainability
Globally, many consumers are putting green practices first, and 54% are already making sustainable purchases, choosing retailers that offer zero-emission shipping, for example. 

The report shows that consumers worldwide are actively changing their shopping habits, making choices that have a positive impact on the planet such as eliminating unnecessary purchases (35%), choosing products with recyclable or eco-friendly packaging (24%) and shopping locally (24%).

This is a trend that is steadily increasing, although 38% of consumers said they were cautious about spending (45% in Italy) because of the rising cost of living. 

Europe also leads the world in conscious shopping: looking at Italy, it was found that 64% of Italian consumers shop sustainably and plan to continue doing so, while 37% of respondents are willing to spend even more to buy from a sustainable brand, especially Millennials (46%) and Gen Z (38%).

It is the younger generation that is leading the conscious shopping revolution, driven by urgency toward climate change: 59% of Gen Z and 61% of Millennials globally already shop sustainably, while 31% of both age groups want to be even more sustainable this year.

Cost is the main obstacle to sustainability for companies
Some companies have revealed that cost is the main obstacle toward greater sustainability, with particular reference to larger companies, which may have more complex supply chain constraints. And in fact, while 40%of companies with 1–50 employees cite it as a real obstacle, the percentage increases to 48% for larger companies (501-1,000 employees).

Although cost can be an obstacle, especially at this time, larger retailers are nevertheless the most likely (46%) to view the current economic landscape as an opportunity to accelerate their programs aimed at sustainability. Indeed, in the future, those who are more climate-conscious will not only receive greater consumer interest, but also represent an economic benefit for the companies themselves.

Companies look for new ways to create sustainable practices
Sustainable initiatives are welcomed by consumers, especially since nearly half (45%) globally say they are willing to pay a premium if it leads to a reduction in their carbon footprint. Two popular sustainable practices among companies, for example, are in-store recycling, offered by 37% of Italian companies, and sustainability programs in which a percentage of sales is donated to nonprofit organizations (implemented by 32% of Italian SMEs).

But retailers can also use various tools to lower their emissions. For example, Shopify’s has developed its Planet app, which allows using carbon-neutral shipping systems on 100% of a company’s orders. Planet automatically calculates the estimated shipping emissions for each of a company’s orders at costs that can vary from US$0.04 to US$0.15 per order to remove carbon from the atmosphere. 

The app calculates the estimated emissions for each order and allows merchants to lower them by funding Shopify-supported companies that are working to remove carbon emissions. Planet has already neutralized the shipping emissions of more than 7 million orders with high-quality carbon removal, totaling more than 6,000 tons of carbon.

Shopify is a global commerce platform that works with millions of companies in over 175 countries including Alessi, BasicNet, Velasca, Pittarosso, Allbrids, Netflix, and many others. 

The company is determined to reverse climate change. Among its activities, the company has committed more than US$33 million to 22 entrepreneurial, tech-driven companies, including Running Tide, Remora, Climeworks, and more, through initiatives like Shopify’s Planet app, an app designed to help businesses achieve carbon-neutral shipping for all orders.

It also created Shopify’s Sustainability Fund, an initiative that backs the development of technologies that remove carbon from the atmosphere, and is also a founding member of Frontier, a US$925million advance market commitment to accelerate carbon removal over the next nine years. 


The Brands

That's Desigual's new step to recall young consumers' attention

Read more →
Fashion Magazine E-commerce Summit

The Trends

Fashion E-Commerce Summit: Digital is driving today's market

Read more →
Naia survey on loungewear

The Materials

Do consumers still love loungewear?

Read more →
How Shopify wants to democratize e-commerce


How Shopify wants to democratize e-commerce

Read more →