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Jul 27, 2021
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Online shoppers: 35% shun brands not acting 'responsibly'

Jul 27, 2021

Any brand or retailer still thinking that ethical issues don't matter should look at a new report from global search and discovery platform Empathy Co. The study says that as many as 35% of online shoppers in the UK will only associate with "responsible" brands. 

Photo: Pixabay/Public domain

Their definition of this includes companies that treat their staff fairly, source their products ethically and don't misuse consumer data.

That's a large number of consumers who are now putting ethics at the heart of their shopping journeys. 

The percentage is based on a Censuswide survey of 4,000 online shoppers. It also showed as many as 47% of consumers preferring to shop with brands that they trust and a sizeable 22% prepared to pay more when shopping with a trusted label.

And trust really is important here because mistrust is fairly high. Some 40% of the shoppers surveyed said they don't like being asked for unnecessary or sensitive data and 37% want more control of the data businesses have on them. This is largely due to an inherent mistrust around the way companies collect, use and sell consumers’ data.

Looking beyond personal concerns over how individual’s information is used, consumers also have wider ethical priorities. This means that 31% of online shoppers prefer to associate with brands that are green, which includes them using sustainable packaging in their deliveries. As many as 37% of them also actively try to order local (or at the furthest, national) products in order to reduce their carbon footprint, something they presumably see as a big problem with ordering goods from abroad.

Of course, such figures show lots of consumers still aren’t thinking 100% sustainably or ethically. But between those who are and those who aren’t, there are lots of nuances. And the number of consumers who really don't seem to care about the environment or ethical issues at all is quite small. 

Only 13% don’t consider their online shopping behaviour to have an environmental impact, and just 20% don’t think about the environment at all when buying online.

The study also revealed that 49% of consumers have no intention of switching away from online shopping now that lockdown is over and 30% said that online will be the default option for every single bit of their shopping in future.

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