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I’m not dreaming of a green Christmas: only one in five intend to be more eco-conscious when gifting this Christmas

Christmas is far from green this year

With £200bn estimated to be spent on Christmas, the UK is set to have a bumper year of wrapping and sharing physical gifts. However, with all eyes on the environment following COP26, new research from Zen Internet reveals that only one in five (17%) will be more environmentally conscious when it comes to gifting this year although four in ten (42%) would like to have an eco-friendlier Christmas.

Three quarters (73%) of those surveyed would never tell someone if they didn’t like their Christmas gift and one in five (22%) admit to often throwing away unwanted gifts. As a result, people will not only be making changes to the way they gift this year, but also their lifestyle choices.

The research amongst 2,000 UK adults found consumers will consider if the retailer they are buying from (41%), their family and friends (38%) and even their broadband provider (33%) are environmentally conscious this Christmas and beyond.

Digital gifting demand

Additionally, with Government guidelines surrounding Covid-19 developments changing rapidly in the run up to Christmas, over half (55%) will do most of their shopping online this year.

In fact, the internet will be a key enabler for buying and sending gifts, more sustainably than ever. With 61% of people feeling societal pressure to buy people presents and 81% agreeing that physical gifts create more clutter, two thirds (63%) of adults think digital gifting is an eco-friendlier alternative, to unwanted stocking fillers, excessive wrapping paper, and physical waste.

Despite a quarter (25%) of UK adults saying they would prefer a digital gift than a physical one, 50% have never received one. This could be slowly changing with 10% intending to buy more digital presents this year and 20% intending to gift more thoughtfully. 

Paul Stobart, CEO at Zen Internet, says: “As we work towards our Net Zero 2028 commitment it’s our mission to raise awareness of the impact we all have on others and the planet. So soon after COP26 it is disappointing that only one in five intend to be more environmentally conscious when it comes to present buying this Christmas. There is room for much more action and improvement to the ways in which we buy gifts this festive season, with the move to digital being key when it comes to caring for our planet.

“It is promising that people are becoming more mindful of using retailers and broadband providers that share their same values as well as encouraging friends and family to consider the environment. At Zen, we place sustainability at our heart and believe everyone can make little steps – such as being more eco-conscious in our day-to-day lives – to make a difference.”

’Toxic’ wear it once culture

The news comes as a separate study reveals that a quarter of UK shoppers only wear an outfit once. The study by Lucy and Yak finds that one in four people are buying outfits for weddings and parties only plan to wear the items once.

The study finds that 12% of Brits said it was because they don’t want people to see it twice on social media; 10% of Brits said it’s because they want to come across as fashionable; 10% of Brits said they want to prove they can afford a new outfit for every occasion and; 10% of Brits said it’s to avoid judgement from friends.

Ilyanna Peters from Treepoints comments: “The cotton in most of our clothes tends to be grown in dry environments, requiring about 7,500–10,000 litres of water to produce. That’s about 10 years’ worth of drinking water for one person. By combatting our compulsion to over consume, being mindful of the things we buy and support and reusing, rewearing and repurposing, we would have a more planet positive and socially responsible way of living.”

Peters adds: “Fundamentally, when it comes to purchasing clothes, the most important thing is thinking about how much you buy, where from and the quality. Because clothes have become so cheap, we no longer care as much about quality. We just buy new garments when the ones we have lose their shape or appeal. If we stop buying poor quality, it will push brands to improve the quality of their garments. It will also allow us to keep our clothes longer, which is good for your wallets and for the environment. But in the meantime, take care of your items- wash your clothes in cold water and repair them yourself if you can.”

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