Forty-two percent of consumers said they prefer receiving paper receipts, while 34% said they liked both paper and digital receipts, according to a survey from Green America. The preference of paper receipts varied by generation: While 50% of consumers ages 55 and older preferred paper receipts, less than 40% of consumers ages 25 to 34 and just over 30% of consumers ages 16 to 24 preferred paper receipts.
Per the report, 89% of respondents — regardless of whether they preferred paper or digital slips — would like retailers to offer digital receipts as an option. The report also noted that a third of consumers want companies to reduce the number of paper receipts they distribute, adding that the U.S. consumes more than 250,000 tons of thermal paper for receipts annually.
Among the consumers who preferred digital receipts to paper ones, 70% said digital receipts were better for the environment and easier to store. However, out of the customers who preferred paper receipts, 64% said they feel more secure with a physical copy and 39% think that paper copies are a tool for keeping track of their spending, according to the report.
Retailers that want to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers have a new frontier: receipts. The shift away from paper use comes as consumers are re-thinking not only how they consume, but also deciding where to buy based on retailers' stance on and action regarding environmental issues.
As consumers' tastes and values evolve, some retailers have realized they need to evolve or lose their appeal. RetailMeNot's 2019 Retailer Playbook found that 87% of retailers believe taking a stand on social issues is worth the risk, and 83% think failing to take a stand on a position can harm their business. Plus, an Accenture report found that 45% of respondents said they would be more likely to buy from companies that take on social issues through their business practices. Some stores have modified their operations not only to take their part in saving the planet, but also to appeal to shoppers.
If nothing else, e-receipts could be another avenue for retailers to improve their mobile shopping experience. A 2019 BRP report found 59% of retailers said they're focused on branding consistently across channels, but only 18% are bridging their online and offline shopping experiences.