10. February 2020 | Press release

The Greta effect in online retailing: German e-shoppers are attaching increasing importance to eco-friendly shopping

The findings of DPD's latest 2019 E-Shopper Barometer:

  • 66 percent of online shoppers prefer sustainable brands and retailers

  • Environmentally conscious e-shoppers represent the largest group of consumers in online retailing

  • In spite of emission-saving alternatives, home delivery remains the preferred option

Aschaffenburg, 10 February 2020 – People who shop on the Internet are mainly interested in saving time (79 percent) and in finding the most favourable offers (59 percent). However, more and more German e-shoppers are also attaching increasing importance to the issue of sustainability: when shopping online, 66 percent of them now prefer brands and retailers which live up to their responsibility when it comes to environmental protection. This is the conclusion of DPD's latest E-Shopper Barometer, for which over 23,000 consumers in 21 countries (1,509 of them in Germany) were surveyed. Within the study, three significant consumer groups for German online retailing were identified: eco-selective e-shoppers (19 percent), e-shopping aficionados (10 percent) and epicurean e-buyers (7 percent). Above all, the focus of eco-selective e-shoppers is clear: 70 percent of them buy products that are as eco-friendly as possible. Among all e-shoppers, an average of 46 percent pay attention to the environmental aspect of their purchase. 69 percent of eco-selective e-shoppers would even be prepared to pay more for environment-friendly products and services (with the overall average this amounts to 46 percent). However, they show less eco-friendliness when it comes to the delivery location: 92 percent still prefer to have their parcels delivered to their homes, even though receiving them on their own doorstep is the least sustainable delivery option. It involves longer driving distances and often multiple delivery attempts.

Among German e-shoppers, the study identified three significant groups of purchasers: firstly, there are the German e-shopping aficionados, who would prefer to buy everything online and, with more than ten parcels per month, are among the most active e-shoppers in Europe. Epicurean e-buyers (4.2 parcels a month) press the order button much less frequently and more specifically. For them price, convenience and delivery options must all be right before they decide to make a purchase. The largest group of consumers surveyed, however, are the eco-selective e-shoppers, who place the highest value (84 percent) on the responsibility of brands and retailers when it comes to environmental protection. With 4.1 parcels per month, they are nevertheless in no way inferior to the epicureans in terms of the frequency of their orders. And the preference for having their parcels delivered to their homes also connects the eco-selective e-shoppers (92 percent) with the e-shopping aficionados (88 percent) and the epicurean e-buyers (81 percent). Direct delivery to the nearest parcel shop has so far only been considered by 12 percent of eco-selective e-shoppers. And this despite the fact that this delivery option is an important means of further reducing emissions over the last mile.

German e-shoppers give the delivery process a positive rating

Overall German online shoppers - regardless of their profile - rate the delivery process as good. 87 percent of all regular e-shoppers rate the delivery process as easy, while by comparison only 78 percent of e-shoppers rate the purchasing process itself as simple. When it comes to the delivery of their purchases, they find it particularly important to be offered several delivery options, real-time information about the status of their shipment and the possibility of next-day delivery. In terms of the product groups ordered, eco-selective e-shoppers purchase fewer product types (4.7) than epicurean e-buyers (4.9) and e-shopping aficionados (10.4). They are particularly interested in clothing (62 percent compared to the general average of 43 percent) and books (48 percent, average: 38 percent). They are also prepared to buy these articles abroad if they find a particularly good offer there: 71 percent of eco-selective e-shoppers have already ordered a product on a foreign website (average: 52 percent). China in particular (53 percent) has established itself as a popular e-shopping destination for them.

Every tenth order is returned

Compared to other European countries, online shopping in Germany has reached an advanced degree of maturity. In fact, around half of German e-shoppers make monthly online purchases. In this country, just under one in five purchases (16.8 percent) is made on the Internet. This puts the proportion of online purchases in Germany among the highest in Europe. For German e-shoppers, online shopping is primarily convenient and time-saving. And they do it on the move, too: 59 percent regularly shop on the Internet with their smartphone. Most Germans regard the delivery process as an important part of their shopping experience. Every tenth product ordered (10 percent) is now returned to the retailer by return shipment, and more than two thirds (67 percent) also find it easy to return their orders.

The current E-Shopper Barometer makes it clear once again that the subject of environmental protection has definitely arrived in e-commerce, and plays an important role for the majority of German e-shoppers."

Andreas Reß, Chief Sales Officer at DPD Germany

"The current E-Shopper Barometer makes it clear once again that the subject of environmental protection has definitely arrived in e-commerce, and plays an important role for the majority of German e-shoppers", says Andreas Reß, Chief Sales Officer at DPD Germany. "At DPD we set the course early on with our group-wide sustainability strategy DrivingChangeTM. For us carbon-neutral parcel delivery without additional cost for shippers and consignees has long been essential. To achieve this we always keep an eye on the greenhouse gas emissions we cause, and are constantly working to reduce our carbon footprint".