From books to clothes, from electronics to jewelry, from bikes to food – there seems to be nothing that you cannot buy online. The e-commerce market is growing and it does not look like this will be changing anytime soon.
But what about the environmental impact of online shopping? Well this is a tricky question, since there are many factors that play a role here. If we look at energy consumption warehouses of online shops use far less energy for heating and light then stores. On the other hand people shopping from home need energy for their computers.
In terms of emissions from transport, sending a parcel produces less CO2 then driving 6 kilometers to the next store. But this only holds true if products are not returned. With returns of up to 50% for the fashion sector this is certainly not the case. This gets even worse when the deliveryman has to come multiple times because the recipient is not home.
In the end it depends very much on how costumers reach malls or how many products they buy at once. To reach conclusive results in this question, more research has to be done on the habits of costumers.
– David Huesmann