Consumers Shop Green For Holidays (Updated)

by | Nov 16, 2007

Experts and research companies including, Cone, and Deloitte are predicting that green holiday shopping will be hot this year. Survey: says that 71 percent of those responding to its recent holiday survey say it is important to them to purchase eco-friendly products this holiday season, says Ron LaPierre, president of the Los Angeles-based company, MediaPost reports.

“Even though green gifts and green products are hot right now, the flame of consumer interest burns out very quickly,” says Robbie Blinkoff, a consumer anthropologist and managing director of Context-Based Research Group in Baltimore. “Right now, with all the interest in global warming, there’s a lot of energy. Smart marketers need to be not righteous, but ‘lefteous’,” he says, “and recognize that consumers want to be taken to the next level.”For retailers, he says, that means having a whole portfolio of green products, not just one or two.

Cone Survey:

Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) will try to buy fewer gifts or holiday products this season because they are concerned about the effect their consumption may have on the environment, according to research from Cone.

The environment is also impacting the purchases Americans plan to make. Almost six in ten (59 percent) say they are more likely to buy “green” products this year than in the past. Interestingly, more than half of Americans surveyed (52 percent) say the motivation for green shopping is to alleviate the guilt associated with holiday consumption.

More than half of Americans (54 percent) say they would be willing to pay more for a holiday gift or product if it is environmentally responsible, and an equally motivated number (55 percent) say they proactively seek opportunities to buy green gifts and products around the holidays.

Americans’ environmentally sensitive behavior extends beyond gifts, as well. They are purchasing gift wrap made from recycled paper (42 percent) or decorating with energy efficient holiday lighting (32 percent). Other consumer choices include:

• Products made by companies that are environmentally responsible – 29%
• Shopping with retailers that have environmentally responsible practices – 27%
• Energy-efficient gifts – 27%
• Gifts with recycled content – 26%
• Organic/locally produced food for holiday meals or gifts – 23%
• Apparel made with environmentally responsible materials – 20%
• Making a donation to an environmental cause as a gift in someone’s name – 15%
• Purchasing carbon credits to offset holiday travel and/or shopping – 3%

Deloitte Survey:

Almost one in five consumers (18 percent) will purchase more “eco-friendly” products this holiday season than in the past, and a similar number (17 percent) will shop at more “green” retailers, according to the Annual Holiday Survey of retail spending and trends, commissioned by Deloitte.

Additionally, almost one-third of consumers (27 percent) surveyed will use fewer plastic bags from supermarkets and other stores this holiday season, and one in five (20 percent) will consider not wrapping holiday gifts to conserve paper. Surprisingly, these responses concerning the environment and holiday shopping intentions were consistent across gender, age and income groups.

“Most importantly, a significant number of people – 17 percent – are willing to pay more for ‘green’ gifts or supplies, which tells us that this issue is on shoppers’ minds this year and is becoming more central to consumers’ purchasing decisions,” said Stacy Janiak, Deloitte’s U.S. Retail Leader.

“Savvy retailers are taking concrete steps to become more environmentally friendly, and are incorporating this sensibility into their operations, as well as their customer communications. At the same time, they should be cautious about promoting their eco-initiatives too early, before they’ve made real progress, due to the potential for consumer backlash.”

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