Over the past few years, consumers have prioritized cost and speed over sustainability when referring to ecommerce decisions, ignoring the impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with last-mile distribution of the purchased products. There are numerous research calls to enhance our understanding about such a phenomenon. To help address this gap, this work investigates how motivated B2C (business-to-consumer) e-consumers are to prioritize sustainability over speed (delivery time) and cost in their orders. To do that, a survey was applied to 421 respondents, and results showed that delivery speed was the most important purchase criterion to consumers, followed by delivery cost, lastly, environmental information. The potential for consumer flexibilization was greater to delivery speed over cost. Demographic characteristics (gender, age, wage, and education) influenced the motivation to give priority to last-mile deliveries linked to sustainability. Also the delivery speed sacrifice accepted by consumers depends on the purchase order (type of product): categories of products, such as fashion and accessories and sport and leisure are more accepted over health/cosmetics/perfumery or food and beverages. Results also suggest that there is potential to educate e-consumers when purchasing online by helping them revise their priorities with t
E-commerce is here to stay, especially in times of pandemic like the current Covid-19 (Kissler et al., 2020), and the literature highlights several benefits associated with it such as high variety of products, competitive prices, efficient delivery, and convenience (Carrillo et al., 2014). There are, however, environmental impacts caused by e-commerce along the supply chain (SC) (Chen et al., 2017). In B2C ecommerce, the transportation accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Jaller and Pahwa, 2020). As e-commerce increases, the interest in sustainability studies associated with these type of transactions increases, as sustainability remains as one of the most challenging issues for humanity (Ding and Jin, 2019).
In accordance with the Digital 2021: Global Digital Overview (Hootsuite, 2021), the number of consumers who have purchased goods via e-commerce in 2020 was approximately 3.47 billion people, equivalent to about 44,5% of the global population. During the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, the total value of the global B2C e-commerce market was about US$ 2.44 trillion (Hootsuite, 2021). With the increase of the B2C Ecommerce worldwide, the use of road transportation for product distribution has also increased (Huang et al., 2018). According to the International Energy Agency (IEA, 2019), transportation is one of the main contributors to global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), accounting for 25% of total global emissions (the second largest share of GHG emissions in 2017). Of that total, 74% of emissions were related to road transportation (IEA, 2019).
This study explores the sustainable SC management from e-consumers demand, emphasizing sustainable last-mile deliveries. The contributions from our study create room for further exploration of this system. This paper contributes to the literature in two ways. Firstly, sustainable last-mile deliveries need to be viewed according to the type of product in question because there are different levels of consumer awareness for each type; secondly, a possibility for SC sustainable practice from the demand in an emerging market brings limited awareness levels over mature market.
Practitioners of SC management may gain insights into how to process their SC increasing the e-consumer participation. Additional information on environmental sustainability at the time of purchase could become a guide for consumers to make well-informed sustainable decisions and consequently to reduce the environmental impacts of their purchase orders. Besides, the participation of e-consumers on their daily basis decision-making process (especially flexible delivery time and cost) has the potential to positively influence the logistics organization and shipment of goods to expand the culture of sustainable deliveries, bringing positive effects in the economic (reducing fuel consumption) and environmental (mitigating GHG emissions) areas. This double effect may interest society and companies, as it generates a mutual gain even if this proposal goes against the current logistics model of speed deliveries.