Jul 26, 2021 - Economy & Business

Americans pick convenience over sustainability on e-commerce

Illustration of a package with an earth logo on it and the words "fragile, handle with care"
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are increasingly convinced that retailers should do business more sustainably, but they're not willing to give up cheap and speedy shipping.

Driving the news: Two-thirds of Millennials and Gen Zers, 55% of Gen Xers and 42% of Boomers said retailers should consider the environmental impact of their businesses, according to a new survey from Retail Brew and Harris Poll.

  • But 56% said faster shipping trumps shopping sustainably.

Why it matters: The annual package delivery emissions of FedEx, UPS, and USPS combined equal the annual emissions of more than 7 million cars, per an EPA calculator.

The bottom line: The pandemic has only intensified America's e-commerce habit.

  • Being stuck at home pushed existing online shoppers to make more purchases online and pushed in-person shoppers to turn to e-commerce, accelerating the growth of online shopping by five or ten years, experts say.
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