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April, 2024

Aussie generations take different approaches to shopping online sustainably: CouriersPlease

New data from CouriersPlease reveals that there is a generational split in the online shopping habits of Australian consumers, though all demographics appear to be making more sustainable choices.

According to the findings, which were derived from a survey of 1005 Australian adults, more than 85 per cent of Australians make environmentally friendly choices in their online shopping journey.

The research shows that good recycling habits rank highest for all Australians, at 47 per cent, with over-50s the most diligent, with 56 per cent of those in the demographic recycling the packaging of their online purchases. The adherence to recycling decreased incrementally with age, with only 36 per cent of under 30s and 43 per cent of the 31-50 demographic recycling their packaging.

Younger consumers were more focused on choosing sustainable retailers, with 45 per cent of under 30s “sometimes or always” shopping with retailers that use sustainably sourced fabrics and ethical labour practices, compared to 25 per cent of over 50s. Under 30s were also more likely to return their items in their original satchel (36 per cent) compared to 31-50s (27 per cent) and over 50s (25 per cent). Overall, only 20 per cent of respondents said they returned unwanted items rather than keeping them unused or disposing of them.

CEO of CouriersPlease, Richard Thame, said: “What’s also fascinating is the age demographic breakdowns of sustainable habits. While climate change concerns are often considered more important to younger Aussies, our data shows that over-50s still lead the pack in some aspects. This speaks to the power of habit and even to infrastructure. While 95 per cent of Australian households boast access to waste and recycling kerbside collection services, much of the country adopted curbside collection for recycling in the 80s and 90s which could mean that older Australians may simply have had more time to adapt when it comes to household recycling.”

Across the board, avoiding impulse buys and re-using and re-wearing items multiple times was another popular sustainable action choice, taken by 34 per cent of respondents, while 16 per cent confessed they take no environmentally friendly actions at all.

Among the mainland Aussie states, WA shoppers shirk impulse buys the most and correctly dispose of packaging, with 40 per cent prioritise reusing items over impulse purchases, and 53 per cent recycling their packaging. Queenslanders were the second most likely to recycle with almost 1 in 2 (49 per cent) making the effort to correctly dispose of packaging.

“Given a decade-long renewed focus on recycling across Western Australia, it’s unsurprising the state is leading the sustainability charge in some respects. Waste disposal across Western Australia fell by 24 per cent on a per capita basis according to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy for 2030[2], which was the largest fall in waste disposal nationally in 2017,” said Thames.

CouriersPlease is also taking steps to ensure its own operations are sustainable. “We’re proud to be a part of that trend with our new Perth facility in High Wycombe, due for completion in April, being constructed to a highly sustainable standard while boasting provisions for future solar panel installations, rainwater harvesting and electric car charging points,” Thame said.