I just read a study that was released by Carnegie Mellon’s Green Design Institute that compared shopping at your local retailer vs online shopping. In this study they specifically compare the energy use and CO2 emissions associated with
delivering a flash drive from the manufacturer to a home via retail or e-commerce. Their study concluded that less energy and fewer CO2 emmissions were used buying online vs at a local store. I’d be interested to see if this study had any biases and if it would hold up against a variety of online e-comerce sites and their different distribution models.
Either way, I normally shop online as I can find better deals and avoid the crowds!