With an annual revenue of around 103 billion euros and a predicted revenue of 115 billion euros in 2020, e-commerce is booming. Following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Amazon’s market share had skyrocketed. Available on all digital devices, shopping apps are receiving a lot of traffic, with Amazon in the lead. Even though Amazon ranked at the higher end of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the leadingp 100 e-commerce sites in 2020, other platforms from the ranking such as Hotels.fr or LeroyMerlin.fr were emission-friendlier.
Nevertheless, physical and online businesses are continuing to profit from new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) not only to sustain their income from orders, but to adapt to the new “green” consumer values. Acting against big cultural shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even the French days, a Green Friday movement had been launched in reaction to what was seen as an over-consumerist event having devastating effects on the environment. Instead of buying new products, the environmentally aware French population is starting to use second-hand platforms and other forms of shared economies. A popular example is Airbnb, which supplies an online platform for accommodation rentals between individuals. In the online fashion industry, Vinted.fr ranked first as the most used online marketplace for selling secondhand clothes.
As the consumer mindset is rapidly changing, the market is expected to react with the same speed. Generally speaking, the most impacting factors of online shopping activity are energy consumption and CO2 emissions due to delivery and storage. The short distance for delivery is generally the most polluting, since home delivery necessarily involves road transport. Faced with this problem, greener delivery solutions are emerging, such as the use of autonomous cars or deliveries to collection points, preferred by 38 percent of French online shoppers.
Even though the packaging needed to transport packages is also at the heart of the debate, new circular economy models are helping to extend the life of products. Rental and reconditioning marketplaces and secondhand platforms such as Vinted have multiplied over the past ten years and are expected to grow. Nevertheless, the technological impact of "greenly" advertised marketplaces is an often neglected factor, as digital waste is often not visible to the naked eye.