Reusable gift wrap, homemade gifts: Sustainability is on the wish list this holiday season

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  • According to an Accenture survey, one in three shoppers said they plan to give up traditional wrapping paper for environmental reasons this holiday season.
  • Accenture found that nearly a quarter of consumers are planning to purchase materials or materials to give their homemade gifts this year.
  • Searches for eco-friendly, sustainable or biodegradable gifts on Etsy are up 48% in the past six months compared to the same time in 2020.

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Maybe some kids wake up on Christmas morning looking for more homemade gifts and far less wrapping paper under the tree.

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One in three shoppers said they plan to give up traditional wrapping paper for environmental reasons this holiday season, according to an Accenture survey that asked 1,515 US consumers about their holiday shopping plans in August .

Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of consumers are planning to purchase materials or materials for their homemade gift giving this year, Accenture found. And 37% of people say they’re going to shop in older channels like thrift stores this holiday season—for others and for themselves. This metric ticked up to 50% for shoppers under the age of 40.

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“It’s a permanent holiday,” said Jill Standish, Accenture’s head of global retail practice. “And people are more aware than ever.”

Standish said that after spending so much time at home since March 2020, many homes are “of different minds” as they go about decorating and gift-giving.

“It will be less of a materialistic holiday and more of a human one,” she said. “People are more aware of the complexities of the supply chain and they are more aware of what is happening to the environment.”

She said that Accenture’s survey also found that 70% of consumers plan to make charitable contributions this holiday season, which is also showing a “generousness of spirit.” “People are saying, ‘I’m going to open my wallet.’ But how they are spending it and what they are spending it on is different,” Standish said.

‘The Rise of the Conscious Consumer’

Sustainable Home Goods, a purveyor of eco-conscious gifts and decor, has an “ethical gifts” section on its website this year – offering items such as vintage glasses, loose leaf tea blends and handmade candles, among other items. The small business said it has seen a surge in sales over the pandemic, as more shoppers stumble upon its website in search of sustainable brands.

“I call it the rise of the conscious consumer,” said LaToya Tucciarone, founder and CEO of Sustainable Home Goods. “It’s been going on for a while, and we’ve been talking to people about it — that they need to focus on this group that’s coming. Because I think that’s really the future of retail.”

“People want more meaning behind what they’re buying, and people are more aware of what they’re buying. And Covid really fast-tracked,” he said.

On Etsy, searches for eco and eco-friendly items are up 28% so far this year compared to last year, according to spokeswoman Lily Cohen. Cohen said that over the past six months, searches for eco-friendly, sustainable and biodegradable gifts on Etsy have increased 48% compared to the same time in 2020.

On Pinterest, searches for permanent Christmas decorations were up 50% in October compared to the previous October, according to spokeswoman Aziza Brinson. And the number of people looking for sustainable gift ideas grew 33% last month compared to a year ago, Brinson said.

Like Standish, Greg Petro, CEO and founder of First Insight, said the pandemic acted as an accelerator for sustainability trends.

“Everyone was stuck at home and receiving packages daily, and I think the inflection point has changed the mindset and trajectory of almost every consumer group,” Petro said.

reusing gift wrap

In a separate survey, First Insight found that 39% of consumers think sustainable packaging is “very important” when shopping, up from 28% in 2019. Consumer Research Group, with the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. , July 1-10 Surveyed 1,122 consumers.

To make it easier for Etsy sellers to use sustainable packaging, the company has partnered with echoenclose, Sellers can purchase packaging made from its recycled content and responsibly sourced paper.

As far as opting out of gift wrap is concerned, Sustainable advises customers to cut out old blankets or other fabrics. It also sells Japanese-style clothing on its website that shoppers can use to bundle gifts and reuse later.

“When you give it to someone, you can ask them to wrap your next gift to someone, and you can pass it over the line,” Tucciarone said. “We’re trying to make it more accessible.”

“More people are definitely looking at durable goods as a gifting option,” she said. “We’ve sifted through all our reusable utensils… People are like, ‘This is a great stocking stuffer.'”

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