Millennial UK shoppers forced to choose between environment and consumer rights new study shows

Research shows that UK shoppers are often being forced to choose between environmentally unfriendly paper receipts or risking their consumer rights for refunds and returns by not taking one at all.

The survey of 100 UK retail executives and 2,000 consumers, commissioned by pqCode and conducted by Censuswide, shows nearly 1 in 4 Brits aged 16-34 not taking a paper receipt because of environmental concerns.

However, taking care of the environment comes at a cost with three-quarters (77%) of Brits who had attempted to return an item in the last year having either lost their receipt or not having it on them meaning they couldn’t secure a refund. Almost a third (30%) of the same group of respondents said that they had attempted to return items to the store but found their receipt had faded.

The research also showed that around 3 in 10 (29%) retail executives cite sustainability as a primary concern on their corporate agenda specifically with regards to reducing plastic and paper waste.

However, e-receipts (email receipts) are falling short with customers, with 4 in 10 (40%) UK shoppers preferring not to give their email address because they believe to do so would lead to unwelcome email marketing, and over 1 in 4 (27%) preferring not to give their email because of privacy concerns in sharing their email in public.

The study shows a need for better solutions that can complement ‘green’ in-store sustainable practices while still appealing to customers.

In response to these environmental challenges, pqCode has launched its solution: a smartphone app that aggregates existing loyalty cards and facilitates digital receipts.  

James Smithdale, founder and CEO, pqCode, pqCode said: “In such a challenging environment, it is no longer enough for retailers to rely on nostalgic ways of working and processes to take care of both customer loyalty and protect the environment… Paper receipts and plastic loyalty cards are unfit for purpose, while customers are more environmentally conscious than ever before.

“Only by continuing to improve every aspect of the customer journey and finding new ways to engage with customers transparently, will retailers be able to acquire and retain shoppers, and their trust, in a digital age. New solutions promoting sustainability will only succeed, however, if customers retain genuine choice and can be eco-conscious without compromising other aspects of their shopping experience.”