Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media reporter based in CalgaryEnvironmentally friendly products will account for about one-third of Canadians’ spending this holiday season, according to the eighth annual Holiday Shopping Survey from Accenture.

But they will be spending a little less money this year on average.

“With increased awareness about the climate crisis, it’s no surprise that responsible retail matters now more than ever, especially going into the holiday season, where we typically see an increase in consumption and waste,” said Robin Sahota, a managing director at Accenture who leads its retail practice in Canada, in a statement. “Consumers want to fill stockings based on companies’ offerings of both environmentally friendly products and sustainable business practices.”

The survey found that Canadians expect to spend about $721 on average this holiday season compared with $733 last year.

And fewer consumers plan to shop on Black Friday and Boxing Day this year. The survey found that 41 per cent of people said they plan to shop on Black Friday, and nearly the same number said they plan to shop on Boxing Day (42 per cent), compared with approximately six in 10 in last year’s survey who said they’d shop on those days. Also, 32 per cent of consumers said they plan to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals. And 54 per cent 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.

“Retailers have traditionally counted on Black Friday and Boxing Day to meet their sales targets for the year, but consumers aren’t willing – and don’t need – to wait for deals anymore, as holiday shopping has become a year-long trend,” said Sahota.

The survey also found:

  • Consumers said they expect to spend, on average, 30 per cent of their holiday shopping budget on gifts that are recyclable, 27 per cent on gifts that are reusable, and 19 per cent on gifts made by “green” companies;
  •  58 per cent said retailers have a responsibility to address wider social issues;
  •  51 per cent said they’d give more of their business to retailers they deem responsible this holiday season;
  • With 68 per cent of Canadians planning to do some holiday shopping online, many will be looking to reduce their carbon footprint;
  •  47 per cent of Canadian consumers – and even more younger millennials (58 per cent) – said they were aware of the environmental impact of faster shipping and said they will choose greener options, such as in-store pickup or ground transportation instead of air;
  •  23 per cent who said they were unaware of the environmental impact of faster shipping now plan to opt for greener options this holiday season;
  • 64 per cent of Canadian consumers said they want to see retailers lead the charge and offer packaging-free products and deliveries. 63 per cent also said they would use recycling services offered by a retailer, and 50 per cent said they would trade in or re-sell an item for a discount toward a gift purchase.

“Consumers certainly prefer to spend their hard-earned money with retailers that share their values, including not only those related to sustainability, but also diversity and fair working conditions,” said Kelly Askew, a managing director in Accenture Strategy. “They recognize that part of spreading holiday cheer means shopping with purpose and choosing brands and companies that stand for something good.”

© Calgary’s Business

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