Blue Yonder Finds that Consumers are Willing to Prioritize Sustainability Over Price

Sustainability remains a top priority for consumers, with 78% of respondents reporting that sustainability concerns are very or somewhat important to them when choosing to buy a product or shop at a retailer.

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Blue Yonder releases the results of its third annual Consumer Sustainability Survey, which polled U.S.-based respondents on their habits and preferences for environmentally friendly shopping. Sustainability remains a top priority for consumers, with 78% of respondents reporting that sustainability concerns are very or somewhat important to them when choosing to buy a product or shop at a retailer.

“We’re encouraged to see that the majority of consumers take sustainability into account when making purchasing decisions,” says Saskia van Gendt, chief sustainability officer, Blue Yonder. “It’s especially promising that so many respondents are willing to spend more for sustainable products, given that price concerns, exacerbated by the ongoing challenge of inflation, have marked conversations around consumer behavior over the last year. Their willingness to spend more should send a clear message to brands and retailers that investing in sustainable solutions and practices is worthwhile, not only for the planet but also for maintaining consumer loyalty and trust.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Survey results also showed that consumers not only have a continued interest in sustainable shopping habits, but also they are willing to pay more and opt for greener shipping options.
  • A healthy majority (70%) of consumers indicated that they have shopped at a retailer promoting their products as sustainable at least once or more in the past six months, which closely matches the 74% who reported doing so in 2022 and 2023. Interest in sustainability is also growing at a steady pace: 47% of consumers reported that their interest in shopping sustainably has greatly or slightly increased in the last year. That interest is underscored by consumers’ willingness to spend more for sustainable products, with 40% of respondents saying they would pay up to an additional 5%, and 25% saying they would pay an additional 10% or more.
  • An impressive 83% of consumers reported that they are willing to delay deliveries if an incentive is given to do so. However, this flexibility has its limits. Only 23% of respondents said they were willing to delay a delivery by a week or more. Nearly half (47%) of consumers also said they would be likely or very likely to pay more for greener shipping options such as lower carbon footprint delivery and sustainable packaging. Sentiments toward sustainable delivery differ slightly by generation1. Millennials (85%) are the most likely to delay product delivery, followed by Gen Z (79%), Gen X (76%) and Baby Boomers (67%). More broadly, Gen Z and Millennials are most concerned with sustainability, with 85% and 84%, respectively, reporting that sustainability considerations are important to them.
  • The products consumers eat and bring into their homes are top of mind when it comes to sustainability. Over half of consumers reported that they incorporated sustainable food products (60%) and household products (55%) into their shopping habits in the past year. Respondents are also cognizant of the methods brands use to improve sustainability: 61% of consumers said reducing food or inventory waste was the most important environmental practice a retailer or brand should adopt. An equal number (61%) said using recycled content or recycled packaging.  
  • Consumers are looking at sustainability throughout the entire end-to-end supply chain, including last-mile delivery. More than half (59%) of respondents reported increased purchasing sentiment toward online shopping with delivery companies who invest in electric trucking to deliver orders.
  • Consumers’ sustainable mindsets are extending to their car shopping habits as well, which is important as personalization continues to become a trend in auto manufacturing. When it comes to electric vehicles, 40% of respondents would be likely or very likely to consider purchasing one. Of those who would purchase, 55% were Millennials, 48% Gen Z, 36% Gen X, and 20% Boomers. The top concerns shared by respondents around owning an electric vehicle include range anxiety, i.e., fear of running out of battery charge (62%), limited charging infrastructure (58%), and the initial cost of the vehicle (58%). The top benefits shared by respondents influencing consumers’ interest in EVs include cost savings on fuel (55%), range on a single charge (46%), government incentives (40%), and environmental impact (40%).
  • Consumers’ enthusiasm for sustainability isn’t superficial, and they tend to think critically about brands’ claims. Nearly half (48%) of respondents said they can only “sometimes” trust a brand’s sustainability claims, depending on its message, brand reputation and history. More than one-third (35%) of respondents said they do not trust brands’ claims, citing the need for their own additional research (21%) and the belief that brands tout sustainability regardless of whether it aligns with their actions (14%).