Shoppers once selected products based simply on price or brand, but now attributes such as whether goods are “sustainable,” “climate-friendly,” “green,” and “eco-friendly” are readily becoming part of the consideration. The latest IAG New Zealand Ipsos poll found, for example, that while climate change is “not the top concern for the public currently, more than half [of survey respondents said that they] worry about it regularly, including about the impacts of climate change that we are already seeing at home and abroad.” At the same time, an IBM survey found that more than 2 in 3 global respondents say that “environmental issues are significantly (very or extremely) important to them personally,” and 84 percent consider “sustainability” to be important when choosing a brand.

Despite prevailing attitudes of consumers to prioritize sustainability and environmental good, research continues to show that few consumers who report positive attitudes toward eco-friendly products actually follow through with their wallets and pay more for “sustainable” goods, which may help to explain the enduring demand for fast fashion and other mass-market goods. 

Green, eco-friendly, climate-friendly products — confused?

With such sustainability concerns in mind, it is hardly surprising that a growing number of brands are flooding the market with very-specifically-marketed goods. For instance, use of the word “green” is applied broadly to almost everything related to benefiting the environment, from production and transportation to architecture and even fashion items. “Eco-friendly” – which is not quite so broad and defines products or practices that do not harm the Earth’s environment – is slapped on everything from beauty goods to dishwashing soaps. Meanwhile, “climate-friendly” is used to define products that reduce damage specifically to the climate. 

All these terms – most of which lack legal definitions and which are used interchangeably by brands – are used in labelling to make us feel good if we buy products claimed to minimize harm to the planet and the environment. Some brands are even moving beyond simply eco-friendly and now seek to claim their products are “climate-neutral.”

Who says it is up to standard?

While companies are increasingly using environmental claims to appeal to consumers, they also attract greater scrutiny. Concerned about allegations of greenwashing – i.e., claiming that a product is “sustainable” when it is not or that it is “greener” than it actually is, many brands are turning to organizations, such as Climate NeutralFoundation Myclimate, and members of the Global Ecolabelling Network, to legitimize their claims, and thereby, avoid large scale public relations scandals. 

For example, the climatop label, as developed by Myclimate, certifies products that generate significantly less greenhouse gas than comparable products. The carbon footprints of the certified products are based on international standards (ISO 14040) and verified by an independent expert. Environmental Choice New Zealand is the official environmental label body that awards certificates and lists environmentally friendly products for green homes or businesses. Products must meet similar standards (ISO 14020 and ISO 14024). Good Environmental Choice Australia is a similar organization.

Third-party certifications may help brands to navigate this space, but as indicated by the widespread pushback against the Higg Index (including a Norwegian Consumer Agency’s move to take issue with H&M’s use of the standard to rate environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain, arguing that the index was insufficient to support its environmental claims), such certifications are not without issue.

A willingness to pay more for “sustainable” products

For years, researchers have examined climate-oriented consumption to see if it actually wins consumer support. Reports, such as Nielsen Insights, suggest the majority (73 percent) of people would change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment, and almost half (46 percent) would switch to environmentally friendly products. But these results should be interpreted cautiously. As U.S. psychologist Icek Ajzen wrote, “Actions … are controlled by intentions, but not all intentions are carried out.” 

Despite environmentally-friendly sentiments from large swathes of consumers (and putting inflationary pressures aside), such concern about the environment does not readily translate into the purchase of “green” products. 

Commercial research reveals that 46 percent of consumers are more inclined to buy a product if it is “sustainable” or “eco-friendly,” but nearly 60 percent are unwilling to pay more money for that “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” product. Meanwhile, academic research has consistently identified this gap between purchase intentions and behaviors. Regardless of environmental concern and the positive attitude of customers towards sustainability and green products, it is estimated the market share of green products will reach only 25 percent of store sales by 2021. 

Ultimately, the research that evaluates consumers’ willingness to pay more for green products has been mixed. For example, one study found Spanish consumers were willing to pay 22–37 percent more for green products, but Japanese consumers were only willing to pay 8–22 percent more for green products. 

From procuring raw materials to shipping the final product, almost all steps of the manufacturing and production process of eco-friendly products cost more than traditional products. There are several reasons for this. Sustainable materials cost more to grow and manufacture, reputable third-party certifications add further costs, and using organic materials is more expensive than alternatives, such as mass-produced chemicals. Simple economies of scale also impact price. While the demand for such products remains low, the price remains high. More demand would mean more production and lower unit price costs. As economists say, as price lowers, our willingness and ability to buy an item increase. 

The nudge to change behavior

In a free market economy, it is very difficult to force people to pay more for products. But brands can “nudge” consumers towards more eco-friendly products. Nudge theory is used to understand how people think, make decisions and behave. It can be used to help people improve their thinking and decisions. 

Studies show eco-friendly logos and labels can be used to nudge consumers toward sustainable fashionfood consumption and eco-friendly offerings. So, while not all consumers will pay more for green “climate-friendly” products despite the best of intentions, we can slowly nudge them to make better choices for the planet.

Gary Mortimer is a Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behavior at Queensland University of Technology. (This article was initially published by The Conversation.)

Urban Outfitters has landed on the receiving end of a new lawsuit for allegedly “bombarding” consumers with promotional text messages without getting their consent. According to the complaint that he filed with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on September 15, Martin Tooley claims that Urban Outfitters has run afoul of both federal and Florida state law by “engag[ing] in aggressive telephonic sales calls to consumers without having secured prior express written consent as required under the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act” (“FTSA”) – which prohibits the sending of marketing “calls” (including text messages) using “an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers” without the recipient’s prior express written consent – and “with no regard for consumer rights under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act” (“TCPA”). 

Setting the stage in the newly-filed complaint, Tooley claims that “beginning on or about June 19, 2022, through June 30, 2022” Urban Outfitters sent a barrage of text messages to his cell phone that “constitute telemarketing” because they “encouraged the future purchase” of Urban Outfitters goods and services. Tooley alleges that “at no point in time did [he] provide [Urban Outfitters] with his express written consent to be contacted,” as required by law. (To constitute valid consent under the FTSA, a consumer must “[c]learly authorize the person making or allowing the placement of a telephonic sales call” or text message to make such contact “using an automated system for the selection or dialing of [their] telephone number.”)

Tooley assets that he “never provided ‘[Urban Outfitters] with express written consent” authorizing [the company] to transmit telephonic sales [messages] to [his] cellular telephone number utilizing an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers.” And “more specifically,” he contends that he “never signed any type of authorization permitting or allowing the placement of telephonic sales calls by text message using an automated system for the selection and dialing of telephone numbers.” 

As a result of such unauthorized messages, Tooley claims that Urban Outfitters caused him and other similarly situated consumers “harm, including violations of their statutory rights, statutory damages, annoyance, nuisance, and invasion of their privacy.” Against that background, he sets out claims of violations of the FTSA and the TCPA. In addition to asking the court to certify the class action element of his lawsuit, Tolley is seeking “up to $1,500 in damages for each call in violation of the FTSA, which, when aggregated among a proposed class numbering in the tens of thousands, or more, exceeds the $5 million threshold for federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.” 

Rising FTSA Claims

Tooley’s lawsuit against Urban Outfitters falls in line with a growing number of FTSA suits following the amendment of the statute to allow for a private cause of action in July 2021. “Before the FTSA existed, plaintiffs mostly sued under the TCPA for alleged telemarketing violations,” according to Klein Moynihan Turco LLP’s David Klein, who notes that the FTSA “contains some key differences from the TCPA,” with the “most notable of which, at least in a litigation context, being the definition of ‘autodialer.’” (e-commerce services company Shopify, mall brand Hot Topic, and fast fashion brand Nasty Gal are among some of the companies that have been hit with TCPA lawsuits over the years.)

While an “autodialer” is defined under the TCPA as “equipment that randomly or sequentially generates phone numbers and then dials those numbers,” Klein contends that the FTSA “contains no such definition.” Instead, it contains “a somewhat vague reference to an ‘automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers,'” leaving room for an appellate court to interpret the FTSA’s “autodialer” provision and/or the Florida legislature to provide “a real definition.” 

As for how courts have been handling FTSA cases to date, just this month, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida dismissed such a lawsuit, “giving FTSA defendants their first win in Davis v. Coast Dental Services, LLC,” Venable LLP’s Daniel Blynn states, following a string of wins for FTSA lawsuit-filing parties. In the Davis case, the court determined on summary judgment that the plaintiff failed to make more than a “conclusory” allegation about how Coast Dental used a “computer software system that automatically selected and dialed” her number and sent her a single marketing message about its dental services without receiving her prior express written consent.

In its September 13 order, the court stated, “The fact that Coast Dental sent Davis an unsolicited text message is consistent with the idea that Coast Dental used an automated machine to send advertisements en masse. However, these facts are also consistent with Coast Dental hiring a marketing firm to send individual messages from a personal cell phone in full compliance with the FTSA.”

Two days after the court issued its decision in Davis (which includes an opportunity for the plaintiff to amend the complaint), Blynn notes that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida refused to dismiss an FTSA claim in Borges v. SmileDirectClub, LLC “on grounds that the FTSA does not violate the First Amendment and is not void for vagueness under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” 

With Davis and Borges in mind, Blythe asserts that “the dismissal decisions tally is now 5-1 in favor of the plaintiffs’ bar.”

The case is Martin Tooley v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., 6:22-cv-01686 (M.D. Fla.).

Nordstrom Inc. adopted a shareholder rights plan this week that the Seattle-headquartered retailer says will protect the interests of the company and all of its shareholders by reducing the likelihood that any entity will gain control. News of the “poison pill” – which went into immediate effect on Monday and is slated to run until September 19, 2023 – follows immediately from Mexican department store chain El Puerto de Liverpool S.A. de C.V. (“Liverpool”) disclosing that it has amassed a 9.9 percent stake in Nordstrom, making it the NYSE-traded company’s second-largest shareholder, following only behind former chairman Bruce Nordstrom. 

The adoption of a “poison pill” by Nordstrom, on its own, is not exactly earth-shattering news given that the implementation of such a plan is a common move for companies facing a potential takeover. “Companies have various tools in their toolbox to ward off unwanted advances,” according to Rooney Law’s Allan Rooney. “One of the most effective anti-takeover measures is the shareholder rights plan, also known as a poison pill, [which] is designed to block an investor from accumulating a majority stake in a company and taking control.” In Nordstrom’s case, in the event that a person or entity acquires 10 percent or more of its outstanding shares, the poison pill will entitle existing shareholders to acquire shares of the company at a significant discount with the aim of dissuading a takeover attempt by Liverpool by either making the company less desirable or by diluting the potential-acquirer’s existing ownership stake in the company. 

Not Fashion’s First Pill 

Certainly not the first headline-making shareholder rights plan to be utilized in fashion, Gucci famously enacted a poison pill plan in February 1999 to fend off an unwanted takeover by LVMH. Under the watch of then-CEO Domenico De Sole, the Italian fashion brand issued more than 20 million new shares for employees to acquire, thereby, diluting the 34.4 percent stake that LVMH had quietly acquired to 26 percent. Almost a decade later, Hermès revealed – after landing on the opposite end of an attempted LVMH takeover of its own, one that the Birkin bag-maker characterized as “hostile” – that its bylaws allow it to use poison pills to fend of unwanted bids.

Since then, poison pills – which were first utilized in the 1980s – have gained significant steam. “It is not uncommon at all for American companies, or companies with [domestic arms] that are incorporated in Delaware or some other U.S. state to utilize poison pills in a situation where someone accumulates a large block of stock and where the company’s board fears that [such an accumulation] will lead to a hostile takeover,” Brian JM Quinn, a professor at Boston College Law School, who focuses on corporate law, M&A, and transaction structuring, told TFL. 

Just this year, one poison pill, in particular, took center stage, with Twitter’s board of directors adopting a strategy in April to “protect stockholders from coercive or otherwise unfair takeover tactics” from Tesla head Elon Musk. The move was effective, Quinn says, as it got Musk to “come to the table and pay a premium for the company.” (In furtherance of the $44 billion deal, Musk will pay $54.20 a share, a 38 percent premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022.)

A Dive into Nordstrom’s Plan

Nordstrom’s recently-revealed plan may not fall outside of the norm of what other companies’ boards would do when faced with such a situation, but there are, nonetheless, some interesting elements at play, most of which call into question Nordstrom’s claim that its implementation of the shareholder rights plan is not a response to any specific takeover bid. A close read between the lines suggests that there is more going on here (of course) than Nordstrom is letting on.

Primarily, it is worth noting that an unprompted adoption of a poison pill is unlikely, as it might not ultimately hold-up for Nordstrom if it is challenged by shareholders given that courts have been unwilling to let such plans stand without the company at issue being able to identify a threat of takeover that prompted the adoption of the plan. A concrete example on this front come out of Delaware relatively recently, with the Supreme Court upholding a Chancery Court decision in November 2021 that shot down oil pipeline company The Williams Cos Inc’s poison pill. Among other things, the court found that the pill adopted by the company in March 2020 (in the wake of a stunning stock market crash) was improper because it was not targeted at a particular threat. (The court also took issue with certain “extreme” provisions, which “seemed designed to circumscribe stockholder activism in general,” Sullivan & Cromwell stated in a note.) 

While Williams cited its desire to prevent stockholder activism during a time of market uncertainty as one of the threats at issue, especially given the fall of its stock price, the court determined that the company’s board was not aware of any specific activist efforts or potential takeovers at play, and struck down the pill.  

Beyond that, the time-limited nature of the poison pill – which expires on September 19, 2023 – further suggests that Nordstrom has, in fact, put the plan in place in direct response to Liverpool’s acquisition. “If nothing happens within the year [that the pill is in place], the pill goes away,” Quinn says, asserting that pill is purely “a defense against a potential acquirer” – Liverpool here – and thus, is “not intended to be there forever.” (In the event that Liverpool goes away in nine months, for example, the pill will disappear on its own after nine months. Or, in the alternative, if Liverpool is still around upon the expiration of the pill, Nordstrom’s board can adopt a new pill.)

The time-limited nature of the Nordstrom poison pill is noteworthy, as it seems to fall in line with a larger trend in corporate governance. Institutional investors and advisory firms do not like it when companies “just have poison pills in place,” according to Quinn, as “absent any other information, pills generally signal that a company is not for sale and even if someone were to come along with a high bid, the board might say no.” As such, this has led to a rise in limited “good governance” pills that expire. 

Against this background, the time limit put on the pill by Nordstrom almost certainly serves as “a message from the board to the company’s biggest institutional investors” that this is purely in response to a specific threat, per Quinn – and not a more general attempt to lock Nordstrom into the status quo on the ownership/operations front. 

Finally, the nature of Liverpool’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Nordstrom’s response are worthy of note, with Liverpool filing a Schedule 13G form (as opposed to a Schedule 13D) just days before Nordstrom put its poison pill into place. Used to report a party’s ownership of stock that exceeds 5 percent of a company’s total stock issue, the 13G is interesting here, as it means that Liverpool is characterizing itself as a “passive investor” and disclaiming any present intent to control the company – as opposed to a party with some intent to control or influence the management of the business (such as seeking a board seat), the latter of which would call for a 13D filing. 

Liverpool may be calling itself a passive investor in its filing (which could certainly change and result in an amended filing) and saying that its acquisition of a sizable block of Nordstrom stock comes in furtherance of an effort to “diversify its geographic foothold.” By putting a poison pill in place, Nordstrom is seemingly signaling that it does not believe Liverpool – and potentially for good reason. The types of parties that typically filed 13Gs are large institutional investors that have no interest in taking control of the underlying companies despite the volumes of stock they acquire. Liverpool stands out in that sense, as it is ”not an average passive investor,” just as Musk, who initially filed a 13G in connection with his stake in Twitter, is not a passive investor. 

Given Liverpool’s status as an operating business in the department store industry, Nordstrom is likely right to question its current “passive investor” claim and put a plan into place in order to ensure that it cannot enact a takeover without Nordstrom’s board being able to negotiate an attractive deal for its shareholders.

United States government agencies escalated sanctions and tightened rules on exports this month in connection with Russia’s enduring attacks on Ukraine – and at least one of these actions is expected to impact fashion and footwear brands. Implemented on September 15, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued a Final Rule applying further export-focused restrictions that not only expand the scope of Russian industry sector sanctions to include items that could potentially be useful for “chemical and biological weapons production capabilities” but that refine existing controls on “luxury goods” (namely, apparel and footwear products) to put the U.S. in line with requirements implemented by its allies.

In addition to including “lower-level items potentially useful for Russia’s chemical and biological weapons production capabilities and items needed for advanced production and development capabilities to enable advanced manufacturing across a number of industries,” the new BIS rule revises previously-enacted controls by lowering the dollar value thresholds that trigger legally-mandated license requirements in order for certain “luxury goods” to be exported to Russia and/or Belarus.

(There are two license requirements for “luxury goods” as defined by the BIS-administered Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) and identified in Supplement No. 5 to Part 746: One for “luxury goods” that are being exported, reexported or transferred to or within Russia or Belarus; and another for “luxury goods” that are being exported, reexported or transferred to “certain Russian or Belarusian oligarchs and malign actors, regardless of their location.”)

While the list of 400 or so “luxury goods” identified in Supplement No. 5 includes everything from nuclear reactors and vehicles to wine and spirits, leather goods, furs, carpets, and artworks, clothing and footwear are primarily affected by BIS’s new threshold revisions. “Tennis, basketball, gym, [and] training shoes” that are “valued at greater than or equal to $1000 per unit wholesale price in the U.S.,” for example, are among the various types of garments and/or footwear that are subject to decreased price thresholds, as are things like “women’s or girls’ swimwear, not knitted or crochet, and valued at greater than or equal to $1000 per unit wholesale price in the U.S.” 

“In reviewing our allies’ value threshold exclusions,” BIS said in a statement on September 15 that it “determined that the $1,000 Per Unit Wholesale Price in the U.S. dollar value exclusion for clothing and shoes was more permissive than those adopted by our allies.” As such, the new rule reduces the dollar value threshold for clothing and shoes from $1,000 to $300 Per Unit Wholesale Price. BIS estimates that these changes will result in a reduction of 10 license applications submitted per year.

While the reduction in dollar thresholds brought about by the new BIS rule – which went into effect on September 15 – serves to extend the licensing requirement for exports to a wider pool of less expensive “luxury goods,” Thompson Hine LLP’s Scott Diamond, Samir Varma, and Francesca Guerrero state that “even with these revisions certain luxury goods entries continue to not warrant a dollar value exclusion and those entries remain unchanged by this rule.” (These include other “luxury goods” like jewelry, leather goods, etc.)

The new BIS rule comes on the heels of earlier rulemaking from the U.S., which first saw BIS impose restrictions on certain “luxury goods” destined for Russia and Belarus and certain “Russian and Belarusian oligarchs and malign actors” in the wake of Executive Orders from President Biden on March 11, including EO 14068, which restricts exports of luxury goods to Russia and Belarus. In accordance with the luxury goods-centric rule that BIS enacted in March, direct – or indirect – exports, reexports, or transfers of such goods from the U.S. or by a “U.S. person” to Russia or Belarus require a BIS export license.

Because requests for licenses are reviewed with a “presumption of denial,” the rule “effectively restricts U.S. retailers and businesses from suppling any luxury items” to Russia and/or Belarus, Morgan Lewis’s Ezra Church, Gregory Parks, Rachelle Dubow, and Emily Kimmelman stated at the time. In other words, the BIS rule established “a high bar to obtaining an authorization, thereby, acting effectively as a ban on licenses.” 

Still yet, it is “important to note,” according to K&L Gates attorneys Jeffrey Orenstein, Steven Hill, Stacy Ettinger, Jerome Zaucha, and Donald Smith, that the BIS export restrictions apply to more than just U.S.-origin luxury goods. “First, the restrictions apply to all goods listed under the final rule that are subject to the EAR,” which includes products that are: (1) U.S.-origin (wherever they are located); (2) Located in the U.S. (whatever their origin); (3) Produced outside the U.S. with more than 25 percent (by value) U.S.-controlled content; and (4) Produced outside the U.S. and covered by the special “foreign direct product rules” for Russia, which was discussed in a prior alert.

Beyond that, they contend that “even with regard to products that are not subject to the EAR, the text of [Biden’s] executive order indicates that U.S. persons, wherever they are located, are barred from the exportation, re-exportation, sale, or supply of covered luxury goods to Russia, Belarus, and designated parties,” which makes for an even broader scope.

“Combined with the broad range of U.S. and multilateral sanctions already issued,” the Morgan Lewis attorneys asserted that such “luxury goods” export bans “further tighten restrictions on commercial activities with Russia and are designed to impact Russia’s wealthiest citizens most directly by ensuring that these luxury products are no longer available to them.” 

Macy’s is tapping Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics as part of a potentially long-running deal aimed at bringing the buzzy cosmetics brand into even more brick-and-mortar stores. In an announcement on Tuesday, the New York-headquartered retailer revealed that it will roll out “a limited-edition Holiday Collection” with Kylie Cosmetics beginning on October 1, followed by “additional core products launching this winter and the full collection coming to stores and online in early Spring 2023.” Reflecting on the tie-up with the “beauty powerhouse” that is Kylie Cosmetics, Macy’s VP of Beauty Merchandising Nicolette Bosco said it comes as Macy’s “expand[s] our ever-growing portfolio of beauty lines” in furtherance of an aim to “connect our customers to brands that celebrate their own personal style.” 

The news of the parties’ venture – which will help Macy’s to get consumers into its stores and on to its e-commerce site – comes as retailers are feeling notable pressure ahead of the important 2022 holiday season, during which time U.S. retail sales (excluding automotive) are expected to increase 7.1 percent year-over-year, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse annual holiday forecast. Despite such projected increases, this year, companies will be forced to grapple with the impact of inflation, which is slated to muddy the waters, as consumers “search for deals [and/or] make trade-offs that allow for extra room in their gift-giving budgets,” Michelle Meyer, U.S. Chief Economist at the Mastercard Economics Institute, says. 

The Macy’s, Kylie deal puts into practice many of the key themes that are expected to dominate retailers’ practices during the 2022 holiday season, from extended holiday shopping timelines to the rise of new collaborations aimed at getting consumers to shop in-store. “With holiday shopping slated to begin early again this year,” Mastercard expects “some of the season’s retail growth to be pulled forward in October as consumers hunt for early deals.” Key promotional days, such as Black Friday weekend are also likely to make “a strong return along with Christmas Eve, which falls on a Saturday, slated to be among the biggest days for retailers and last-minute shoppers,” the company states. 

At the same time, brands and retailers, alike, are expected to roll out in-store experiences to draw shoppers into stores. “From the return of holiday doorbusters to new brick-and-mortar collaborations,” companies are angling to drive shopping in-store, where consumers tend to spend larger sums per transaction and where the rate of returns is significantly low. Against this background, Mastercard’s forecast sees in-store retail sales rising by 7.9 percent year-over-year and up 10.4 percent from pre-pandemic 2019 levels. “While e-commerce has seen marked growth in recent years,” its data shows that “in-store spending made up more than 4/5 of retail sales from January through August 2022.” 

Looking beyond trends that are not as easily discernible in the Kylie and Macy’s partnership, Mastercard estimates that apparel sales, for instance, are likely to increase this holiday season, with consumers adding “revamped wardrobes to their wish lists as social events and platforms” have resumed post-pandemic. Apparel sales are estimated to rise by 4.6 percent year-over-year and 25.3 percent compared to 25.3 percent from 2019. Meanwhile, luxury goods are expected to be “hot holiday gift sectors,” with sales increasing 4.4 percent year-over-year and 29.6 percent from 2019. 

And still yet, bargain hunting is expected to be in full force this holiday season – and leading up to the season, as retailers plan to implement “steep markdowns to clear shelves ahead of the holiday season,” according to the Financial Times. “I hesitate to call it a bloodbath,” Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne asserted during the group’s Q2 earnings call last month. Nonetheless, “It’s going to be ugly in terms of the amount of discounting and markdowns,” he said, noting, “We think there’s too much inventory across the board.” 

“From deals and discounts to price monitoring and price matching, consumers are looking to stretch their dollars and get the most bang for their buck,” Mastercard contends. “E-commerce is anticipated to increase despite significant growth last year, up 4.2 percent year-over-year and 69.2 percent from 2019,” in a nod to consumers’ concern over price. After all, Mastercard states that “the channel remains a convenient way for consumers to check prices in real time.”