New report explores consumers’ ethical retailing expectations

Nearly two-thirds of consumers actively look for ethical or sustainable features when making an online purchase, a new research report by PFS and LiveArea has found.

Over three-quarters (76%) of consumers also feel that online retailers and brands have an obligation to protect, conserve and benefit the environment.

To understand the role of ethical initiatives on shopping behaviour online, and the impact that the belief-driven buyer has on online retailers' and brands' ability to trade responsibly and profitably, PFS and LiveArea asked consumers in the UK, Republic of Ireland and France for their ethical retailing expectations.

The report found that four in ten (39%) people said they would be willing to pay more to support online retailers' and brands' corporate social responsibility initiatives Yet, when choosing between price and ethics, over half (54%) of consumers still purchase products based on cost.

Despite consumers clearly being conscious about the products they buy, 44% of respondents have not been made aware of corporate social responsibility initiatives or their impact by their preferred retailers, however. Yet, the same percentage (44%) said they would like to know about them – making this an easy win for brands that currently aren't communicating this type of information.

More than a quarter (28%) went on to say that they actively seek out online retailers' and brands' corporate social responsibility, sustainability and returns policy webpages, indicating how seriously they take the issue. In fact, 71% of millennials look for ethical or sustainable features in the products they buy – the highest agreement among all age groups.

The full report, titled ‘Retail Repercussions: Communicating Ethical Initiatives to the Conscious Consumer', can be viewed here.

(Image: Getty Images / iStock)