Canadians Dreaming of a ‘Green’ Holiday Shopping Season as Many Consider Recyclable or Reusable Gifts

Environmentally friendly products will account for approximately one-third of Canadians’ spending this holiday season, according to findings from the eighth annual Holiday Shopping Survey from Accenture.

While Canadians expect to spend roughly the same this year as last year — about $721, on average, versus $733 last year — the survey found a growing trend of “responsible retail,” with shoppers more concerned about the environmental and social impact of their purchases.

For instance, consumers said they expect to spend, on average, 30% of their holiday shopping budget on gifts that are recyclable, 27% on gifts that are reusable, and 19% on gifts made by “green” companies. Further, nearly three in five Canadians (58%) said retailers have a responsibility to address wider social issues, and more than half (51%) said they’d give more of their business to retailers they deem responsible this holiday season.

Fewer consumers plan to shop on Black Friday and Boxing Day

Approximately four in 10 consumers (41%) said they plan to shop on Black Friday, and nearly the same number said they plan to shop on Boxing Day (42%), compared with approximately six in 10 in last year’s survey who said they’d shop on those days. In addition, one-third (32%) of consumers said they plan to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals.

Amidst this drop in Black Friday and Boxing Day plans, more than half (54%) of consumers said they now buy their gifts throughout the year due to the rise of constant discounts offered by retailers, including deal websites and promotional sales such as Amazon Prime Day.

Green-minded consumers opting for in-store pickup and packaging-free purchases

With 68% of Canadians planning to do some holiday shopping online, many will be looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Almost half (47%) of Canadian consumers — and even more younger millennials (58%) — who said they were aware of the environmental impact of faster shipping said they will choose greener options, such as in-store pickup or ground transportation instead of air. An additional 23% who said they were unaware of the environmental impact of faster shipping now plan to opt for greener options this holiday season.

Despite companies getting more creative with product packaging, 64% of Canadian consumers said they want to see retailers lead the charge and offer packaging-free products and deliveries. More than three in five consumers (63%) also said they would use recycling services offered by a retailer, and half (50%) said they would trade in or re-sell an item for a discount toward a gift purchase.

Consumers putting their money where their values are

The survey also revealed that many consumers want to make their money count this holiday season. About half (51%) of consumers said they are more likely to shop at retailers that are addressing social issues through their business practices and working conditions.