• In Switzerland, three quarters of consumers shop online at least once a month.
  • Product descriptions as well as product images and videos are crucial for the online purchasing decision, as is the choice of payment methods.
  • Information about sustainability is an important or very important element in the purchasing process for 64% of Swiss consumers.
  • One in five people in Switzerland are willing to pay a premium for sustainability.


Online shopping has become a trend: 76% of Switzerland’s population make an online purchase at least once a month. These are some of the insights offered by a representative KPMG survey conducted in the DACH region. However, the frequency of shopping via digital channels has reduced slightly compared with spring. This spring, 58% of Swiss consumers made online purchases several times per month; this figure now stands at 53%. “With the shops opening in spring, people tended to return to bricks-and-mortar stores to do their shopping. Consumers are increasingly seeking the in-person shopping experience, among other things. There is still a future for bricks-and-mortar stores,” explained Jürg Meisterhans, Head of the Retail Sector at KPMG Switzerland.

Figure: Frequency of online shopping (click here to open, in German)

Product information as a key purchasing characteristic

Informative product descriptions, appealing product images or videos, and choice of payment methods are key factors in influencing the purchasing process in online shopping. Information on product returns and return shipment tracking also play an important part. Customer reviews are also particularly important for Generation Z and Millennials in making their purchase decisions in the online shop.

Figure: Purchasing decision drivers (click here to open, in German)

Significant requirement for information on sustainability issues

The survey also shows that information about sustainability is considered to be “important” for 46% of Swiss consumers when shopping, and “very important” for 18%. Nevertheless, depending on the aspect of sustainability, between 7% and 29% of respondents state that they cannot find high-quality information, either online or in store. This is particularly the case with regard to more recent information about sustainability, such as water consumption, equal pay, child labor and carbon footprint. Therefore, there remains huge potential for manufacturers and retailers, both online and offline, to provide better information.

Figure: Availability of information regarding on various aspects of sustainability (click here to open, in German)

Willingness to compromise exists – but not on price

91% of the Swiss population is fundamentally willing to make compromises for the benefit of the environment and sustainability. Half of all consumers would therefore be willing to return reusable packaging when making purchases via the Internet. For reasons of sustainability, 44% would accept longer delivery times and almost a third would also accept goods that have minor flaws but are fit for purpose.

However, when it comes to money, despite good intentions, consumers are rather more conservative: Only one in five online shoppers would be willing to pay a premium for sustainable packaging. And only 22% of consumers would consider making a payment to compensate for the “carbon footprint” of an Internet order. “Although the majority of consumers are unwilling to concede on price, factors regarding sustainability when making purchases are becoming increasingly important. Retailers need to consider this systematically with both online and in-store shopping,” said Meisterhans.

Figure: Willingness to compromise for the sake of sustainability (click here to open, in German)

The retail expert sees great potential, particularly when it comes to shipping. Almost nine out of ten respondents feel it is “important” or “very important” for the size of the packaging to be appropriate for the size of the product. 80% advocate that, for reasons of sustainability, retailers should group more shipments together to avoid individual deliveries. “Against this backdrop, the development of delivery logistics is exciting, particularly when it comes to the last mile logistics,” stated Meisterhans.


The analysis is based on an online market research survey with a sample size of 3,155 people, 1,047 of which are from Germany as well as 1,054 each from Austria and Switzerland. The survey is representative of the population in terms of the ratios for age and gender (ratio combination), town or city size, household size, and net household income. The survey was conducted in the period from 1 September to 13 September 2021.

Discover more

Interesting topics for you:

Discover more