Consumers are increasingly placing importance on sustainability in their purchasing decisions according to new research commissioned by FedEx.
FedEx said 75% of small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) surveyed said their customers are more interested in receiving their goods as quickly as possible rather than in sustainable shopping.
A similar number, 73%, thought receiving goods as cheaply as possible is more important to customers.
But FedEx said insights from its new research show contrast.
In its "What's Next in E-Commerce survey," SMEs and consumers in 11 markets in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa region (AMEA) were polled in July 2022 to explore the continuing evolution of e-commerce in the region.
FedEx said the research found that consumers want both sustainability and speed.
"The accelerated growth of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic occurred as consumer concerns over the environment continued to grow. For a significant number of consumers, the future of the planet is top of mind, and they do not want to compromise – they want both sustainability and speedy delivery," the multinational logistics company said.
It added that across the region, 67% of those surveyed expressed as much interest in receiving their goods quickly as they did in the sustainability of the online shopping process.
"Consumers in Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea placed the greatest priority on sustainability over delivery speed. Conversely, consumers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia are more likely to focus on the delivery lead time," FedEx added.
The research shows that eight out of 10 consumers in AMEA expect the e-commerce companies they buy from to pursue sustainable business models.
Meanwhile, 7 out of 10 prefer to buy from companies with an effective environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy in place – but only 29% of SMEs actually have one.
"Sustainability is no longer an optional extra for SMEs interested in expanding their e-commerce businesses. Consumers increasingly see it as an essential and non-negotiable part of their decision-making process," said Kawal Preet, president of Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (AMEA) at FedEx Express.
FedEx is following a multi-track path to reduce carbon emissions in the delivery cycle with a goal of achieving carbon-neutral global operations by 2040.