Many consumers will take climate change into account when making their holiday purchases this year, opting for slower shipping options or in-store pickup, which have less environmental impact than expedited shipping, according to data from Accenture’s annual holiday shopping survey.
Accenture ACN, -1.43% and Coleman Parkes Research surveyed 1,500 U.S. consumers online, finding that half of shoppers will choose slower ground transportation and have items shipped all at once rather than in separate packages for a lighter carbon footprint.
Shoppers are also taking a retailer’s stance on social issues into account when choosing where to make their purchases.
“We have entered the era of ‘responsible retail,’ where consumers are becoming more environmentally and socially conscious and will increasingly turn to brands that not only talk about responsibility but demonstrate it through their business practices,” said Jill Standish, head of Accenture’s global retail practice, in a statement.
Sustainable products and packaging-free merchandise will also be high on shoppers’ wish lists.
The consumer impact of climate change has become a year-round concern, with brands like Levi Strauss & Co. LEVI, -0.11% taking measures to reduce water use in making their jeans, and retailers like Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, -0.01% unveiling plans to go carbon neutral.
Part of the reason for the growth in the secondhand and resale market is environmental concern, with many shoppers, particularly millennials and Gen Z consumers, taking steps to reduce the waste the comes with fast-fashion and overstuffed closets.
Consumers are also examining their dining habits, with Accenture finding that shoppers plan to spend more on fruit, plant-based foods, or organic and vegan items and less on holiday desserts.
All of these considerations aren’t expected to drive down holiday spending. Accenture forecasts an average holiday spend of $637 this year, with 57% expecting to spend the same as last year and 28% expecting to spend more.
Deloitte forecasts a 4.5% to 5% total rise in 2019 holiday sales, with the tally expected to exceed $1.1 trillion. E-commerce is expected to reach $144 billion to $149 billion.
AlixPartners is forecasting a 4.4% to 5.3% rise in total sales, though experts say there is “unprecedented uncertainty” about the holiday season, thanks to the trade war between the U.S. and China, worry about a coming recession and other global anxieties.
Accenture also notes that rising food bills and credit card debt will affect holiday season spending, with nearly a third of respondents citing these two factors.
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