Roughly 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers (89 percent) would like retailers to offer digital receipts as an option to customers, and millennials and younger Americans are out front on adoption of the no-paper option, according to a new survey from Green America, the nation’s leading green economy organization.
“U.S. consumers want retailers to provide a digital receipt option, and younger generations are driving that demand,” said Beth Porter, Green America’s Climate Campaigns director. “These individuals cite environmental concerns and easy storage as their top reasons for preferring digital. It’s clear that there is a desire for paperless options that reduce the waste of over three million trees used to make receipts each year in the United States.”
The survey is available at greenamerica.org/receipt-survey. Key findings include:
- Nearly 40 percent of respondents have already signed up for digital receipts. 42 percent of age group 25-34 (millennials) and 55 percent of age group 35-44 (older millennials and younger members of Generation X) have signed up for digital receipts, and among members of age group 16-24 (Generation Z), 33 percent have signed up.
- Almost 90 percent of respondents would like retailers to offer digital receipts as an option to customers.
- 51 percent of respondents say their preferred receipt method is either digital or both paper and digital. Only 42 percent say their preferred receipt method is paper-only.
- 70 percent of respondents who prefer digital receipts say it’s in part because they’re better for the environment, and 70 percent of the same set who prefer digital receipts say it’s in part because they’re easier to store.
- On average, respondents say that they end up throwing away or losing over half of paper receipts that they receive, even ones that they intended to keep. Over 25 percent of respondents stated they throw away or lose “nearly all” paper receipts they are given.
“Given the high cost of receipt paper for businesses and the shift of customer preferences, it makes sense for businesses to offer a digital option for customers who prefer it, rather than print receipts that are often thrown away,” said Todd Larsen, Green America’s executive co-director. “When companies make these options available, it’s good for the environment and the bottom line.”
The survey also identified the reason that people who prefer paper avoid digital is that people feel more secure with a paper copy. However, survey respondents also stated that they lost paper receipts they intended to keep an average of 5 times per month. Digital receipts can provide greater opportunities for records retention and security, and there is a strong opportunity for retailers to better educate the public about the advantages of digital-only receipts.
The survey was conducted by Censuswide, with 1,011 General respondents in the U.S. between July 11-15, 2019.
In June, Green America released a new edition of its Skip the Slip report analyzing receipt practices in the U.S. retail sector. The report grades top businesses on their receipt policies and was cited in a California state bill to reduce waste of resources for paper receipts and address endocrine-disrupting toxins used on most thermal paper, introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). Recently, New York City council has announced that it is considering a package of bills that could restrict the use of bisphenol A (BPA), require stores to offer e-receipts, and require businesses to use recyclable receipt paper.
Since 2017, Green America has campaigned to raise awareness on the unnecessary environmental impacts of paper receipts and the toxins coating paper receipts.
ABOUT GREEN AMERICA
Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org