Friday, 26 November 2021

Sustainable Christmas gift-giving rises in popularity: insights and tips

Written by Nick Richardson
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Ph. Any Lane, Pexels

The trend was already in the air but new research confirms our sensation: sustainable Christmas gifts are spreading in popularity.

Market research on British shopping preferences led by American Express predicts this Christmas shopping trend: festive gift-giving will be more sustainable, as well as more substantial.

About The Research

Sustainable gifts are growing in popularity ahead of this festive season with consumers willing to spend significantly more on gift sustainability, according to new research from American Express (NYSE: AXP). The study took into consideration a sample of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ and it has been conducted by Opinium between 26th and 28th October 2021.

The results are very promising and green:

  • 62% of UK consumers will be making at least one sustainable choice when purchasing seasonal presents this year.
  • Buying sustainably is most popular among Millennials and Gen Z, with 77% of 18-34 year-olds purchasing sustainable products or gifts.
  • Over a third (37%) of UK consumers are willing to spend more on a sustainable gift.
  • The top sustainable gifting trends in the UK include buying from sustainable or ethical brands (25%) and buying from second-hand or vintage shops (18%).
  • A third (33%) will be using recycled or recyclable wrapping paper (33%).

Why Going Green This Festive Season, Brits Said...

With consumers having access to a greater choice of sustainable products this year, and events such as COP26 at the top of the news, over a third (37%) of UK gift-givers consider purchasing sustainable presents this year more important than ever. The average UK consumer is expected to spend £77 on sustainable gifts this year. While Brits will on average purchase eight presents this season, five of these are expected to be sustainable. Over a third (37%) of Brits would be happy to spend more on an ethical or sustainable gift, with those consumers willing to spend on average 12% more.

When asking about the reasons for such choices, among those Brits who said it was more important to buy sustainably this year, over half (54%) said it is because they are more conscious of their actions. Other popular reasons were being more aware of the benefits of giving these gifts (38%), thinking that family or friends will appreciate them (30%), feeling a duty to gift in this way (30%) and feeling good about oneself when gifting sustainably (28%).

Reasons for sustainable gift giving’s importance this year           % of those who think it is more important this year

I am more conscious of how my actions can affect the planet                    54%

I am more aware of the benefits of gifting sustainably                               38%

I know my friends/family will appreciate the gifts more
if they are sustainable/ethical   

I feel a duty to gift sustainably this year                                                     30%

There are greater sustainable gift options this year                                    29%

It makes me feel good about myself when I gift sustainably                       28%

It’s been easier to find sustainable gift options this year                            21%

To accompany this study, American Express offered a couple of top tips on how to make the most of shopping for sustainable gifts this festive season:

  1. Shop locally, shop small! – It has been a tough 18 months for independent shops. This season is the perfect time to show some love to your local small business who often have direct relationships with suppliers and know the provenance of their goods. Make this festive season extra special for your local retailers by shopping small.
  2. Treat yourself with points and rewards, or donate – You can put your spending on a card that earns cashback, rewards or points for your purchases. This means every purchase can count towards something else – a present to celebrate someone important in your life, a treat for yourself or even a donation. You can use your American Express Membership Rewards points to donate to more than 9,000 UK charities through JustGiving (more information here).

This festive season, Brits will spend more and more ethical for their loved ones. This is a very welcome shopping trend that is sure to give back to small businesses and the local communities on the whole.