Coronavirus sparks shift towards sustainable Christmas shopping

Kalila Sangster
·2-min read
Almost a fifth (19%) of Brits are planning to buy more sustainable Christmas presents this year compared with 2019. Photo: Getty
Almost a fifth (19%) of Brits are planning to buy more sustainable Christmas presents this year compared with 2019. Photo: Getty

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a shift towards sustainable Christmas shopping in the UK, according to new research.

Almost a fifth (19%) of Brits are planning to buy more sustainable Christmas presents this year compared with 2019, a survey by the Fashion Retail Academy found.

Young people are at the forefront of sustainable shopping with 37% of 18- to 24-year-olds planning to buy more environmentally friendly products compared to a year ago.

London and Scotland are home to the most environmentally conscious consumers in the UK, where a quarter (25%) of people are intending to buy sustainable Christmas gifts.

While a third of shoppers (29%) said the COVID-19 had made them more conscious of sustainable fashion, the pandemic has impacted clothing sustainability as millions of Brits have shifted to home working. More than £115 worth of unworn clothes are hanging untouched in people’s wardrobes — a 40% rise since early 2019.

READ MORE: Average UK household Christmas spend set to drop by over £100

COVID-19 has also impacted shopping habits, with online shopping booming as consumers seek to avoid crowded high street shops and shopping centres.

A fifth (20%) of Brits are planning to do more Christmas shopping in local independent stores compared to last year, as the pandemic has encouraged a surge in people wishing to support small local businesses.

Younger generations are the most committed to shopping local, with 32% of 18- to 24-year-olds planning to do more local Christmas shopping, compared to 14% of those over the age of 55.

The greatest proportion of people planning to shop locally across the UK are in Scotland, where 28% are planning to find Christmas gifts at independent shops close to home.

“The pandemic has forced many of us to think about our impact on the planet and how wasteful we can be as a nation, and that means sustainability is in fashion like never before this winter,” said Lee Lucas, principal of the Fashion Retail Academy.

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“The shift towards sustainable shopping presents a great opportunity for retailers to widen their range of products to cater for this new type of environmentally-conscious consumer.

“With shops now finally open again after the second lockdown, retailers across the country should be mindful of product placement in stores, shop windows and advertising as consumers start to vote with their feet over sustainable goods.”

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