Popularity of online shopping increases alongside climate concern

YIT Corporation News December 27, 2019 at 09:00 a.m.

Verkkokauppa YIT
Verkkokauppa YIT

Finnish city dwellers express their views on themes such as home, working and urban environment, transport and retail in the Sustainable Urban Environments barometer.

Consumers are concerned about climate change, and more and more people turn to the Internet for their shopping. These are some of the results of the Sustainable Urban Environments barometer, conducted for the second time by YIT this year. In the barometer, city dwellers express their views on themes such as home, urban environment, transport and retail. 

The major difference from last year was that an increasing number of consumers now stated that they favour online shopping over traditional shops. In the barometer, the popularity of online shopping rose by 8 percentage points. Juha Kostiainen, EVP of Urban Development at YIT, believes that this increase stems from several simultaneous changes in favour of online shopping.

“E-commerce continues to grow in Finland and around the world, and the growth is boosted by the effortless nature of shopping and the wider selection compared to brick-and-mortar stores. The Internet brings a huge market within everyone’s reach. Of course, many consumers are also still interested in the novelty value of online shopping.”

Despite the growth of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores remain more popular by a large margin. They were the preferred option of 71% of the respondents, whereas only 18% preferred online shopping.

Suspicion and logistics standing in the way of online grocery shopping

Fashion and footwear remain the top items purchased online. Groceries and cleaning products, however, are nearly always bought from hypermarkets and corner shops. The low popularity of online grocery shopping is somewhat surprising as food has the greatest potential in terms of e-commerce products (Posti’s 2019 Online Shopping Survey).

“Online grocery shopping has had a surprisingly slow start in Finland. By comparison, about 15% of all grocery purchases in the Greater London area of England are made online. People still have suspicions about the freshness of the food, and many find it important to be able to touch and see the groceries before buying them. Logistically, where to deliver the groceries so that they keep is the major challenge. If the groceries are delivered to the customer’s doorstep, the time window is usually quite small. But I believe that Finns will slowly start to get used to the new ways of shopping,” says Kostiainen.

Similarly to other forms of e-commerce, online grocery shopping will be boosted by automated machines where the orders can be delivered.

Packaging innovations may reduce the environmental impact of e-commerce

The past two years have seen enormous growth in climate talk and concern, and it looks like the discussion is going to continue for a long time. Climate concern is also reflected in consumer attitudes. Every other respondent to the Sustainable Urban Environments 2019 barometer plans to promote sustainable development by cutting back on their consumption within the next year. The share of respondents remained unchanged from the previous year.

E-commerce has been criticised as an unecological option due to transportation and packaging, among other things. Kostiainen points out that innovative packaging materials, such as biodegradable packaging, can considerably reduce the environmental impact of e-commerce. Sending products back and forth could be controlled through fees, for example.

“One of the means of reducing the environmental impacts of e-commerce is to combine the digital and the physical aspects by using showrooms, for example. At showrooms, consumers can see and touch the products, try them on and place an order at the showroom or online,” says Kostiainen.

*Sustainable Urban Environments barometer 2019
The Sustainable Urban Environments barometer was carried out for the second time this year. The survey is targeted at the residents of eight cities: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä and Kuopio. The data was collected by an online panel administered by CINT Ab during September 16–27, 2019. There were 1,022 respondents. The sample is representative of the 18–75-year-old population of the participating cities in terms of respondents’ age, gender and the size of each city.
The results of the barometer and themes related to urban development was discussed at the Sustainable Urban Environments seminar, organised by YIT for the seventh time.

Read more:
Is urban brick-and-mortar retail crumbling down?

Sustainable development is at the core of YIT´s new strategy

A clear majority of city dwellers in Finland are concerned about climate change

For further information, please contact:
Juha Kostiainen, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Urban Development, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 400 721 475, juha.kostiainen@yit.fi
Hanna Malmivaara, Senior Vice President, Group Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 40 561 6568, hanna.malmivaara@yit.fi


YIT is the largest Finnish and significant North European construction company. We develop and build apartments and living services, business premises and entire areas. We are also specialised in demanding infrastructure construction and paving. Together with our customers, our nearly 10,000 professionals are creating more functional, attractive and sustainable cities and environments. We work in 11 countries: Finland, Russia, Scandinavia, Baltic Countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The new YIT was born when over 100-year-old YIT Corporation and Lemminkäinen Corporation merged on February 1, 2018. Our restated pro forma revenue for 2018 was approximately EUR 3.2 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. www.yitgroup.com