Hong Kong Shoppers Re-Evaluating How to Minimise Their Environmental Impact

A price versus principles paradox is creating a new cohort of ‘conflicted’ shoppers in Hong Kong, who are simultaneously demanding value for money as well as products and services from retailers that tap into their sustainable values.

According to the latest research from e-commerce solutions firm Asendia, whose original survey of over 8,000 global shoppers in their ‘How To Sell Direct In The Age Of The Conflicted Shopper’ report, which included research of over 1,000 shoppers in Hong Kong, showed that price now tops consumers’ key considerations for 44% in their buying decisions, followed by value for money (41%).

Yet, despite cost-of-living pressures, over three-quarters (76%) of Hong Kong shoppers considered themselves to be sustainably-minded in their consumption habits.

While 56% of shoppers in Hong Kong said they planned to cut back on spending in 2023 due to economic uncertainty, consumers are also re-evaluating how and what they buy to minimise their environmental impact.

Almost a third (32%) plan to consume less but more sustainably by purchasing pre-loved or second-hand items in 2023, rising to 37% of Gen Z, while a further 40% intend to buy less by extending the life of the products they own by using retailers’ repair or upcycling and circular retail initiatives.

Renaud Marlière, Global Chief of Business Development of Asendia, commented: “There’s little doubt that cost-of-living pressures are forcing consumers to weigh up what values, such as sustainability and greener consumption, they can afford to maintain. But while household budgets remain squeezed, shoppers aren’t prepared to put price entirely before principals in their consumption habits.”

“This is creating what we’ve coined the conflicted shopper; consumers who seek value for money – acting with price-sensitivity and spending-caution – on one hand, but want to consume in line with their values on the other, opting for eco-conscious decisions across their buying journey, from product choice to fulfilment methods. Despite this seeming paradox, it means retailers now need to cater for both polar ends of the conflicted shoppers’ value spectrum if they are going to win custom, loyalty and lifetime value,” Marlière continued.

The Value Paradox

While 76% of shoppers in Hong Kong consider themselves to be sustainably-minded, the same consumers who are consciously shopping ‘green’ – with 44% buying eco-friendly products, 40% buying organically and 35% choosing low-carbon goods – are also displaying sustainability ‘vices’ within their consumption habits.

A quarter (24%) were still choosing next-day deliveries or fast fulfilment options, while a further 24% who identified as sustainably-minded shoppers admitted to still buying fast fashion, despite being renowned for its damaging impact on the planet. 21% of ‘green’ consumers in Hong Kong were also choosing to buy denim, widely considered to be an environmentally-poor fashion choice.

And this value paradox is being exhibited not just in what consumers buy, but also in how they want their orders to be delivered. Hong Kong shoppers’ top consideration around international fulfilment was knowing whether grouped deliveries which saved on fuel across multiple orders were available (36%), followed by 31% who wanted to know the air miles associated with their delivery to try and reduce carbon emissions.

While 42% would pay more for faster fulfilment, 26% would pay more for 100% carbon-neutral deliveries, and 23% would pay more for greener fulfilment options, even if the item took longer to arrive.

In 2022 Asendia announced it had reached 100% carbon neutrality through its carbon offsetting projects. It now offers carbon neutrality across all shipments carried out for international retail customers via its e-PAQ solution, a specialist range of international packet and parcel services designed for online retailers.

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