Insight: UK shoppers to hit the high street for a more ethical Christmas as Brits champion greener festivities – Visa

A nationwide study has found that almost four in 10 Brits (38%) are planning a more ethical Christmas this year, with a third (33%) of us planning to buy the ingredients for our Christmas lunch from local shops, 31% plan to use recycled wrapping paper, while 27% intend to buy the majority of their gifts on the high street to help the environment and local economy.

In fact, almost a quarter (24%) of those polled said they are more inclined to shop locally at Christmas, while the number of shoppers saying that they would venture to their local high street specifically to support their community this Christmas has increased by 43%* on last year.

The study, commissioned by Visa as part of its campaign to support independent retailers this Christmas, also revealed that alongside conscious spending, 2019 has shone a spotlight on sustainability more broadly. 84% of Brits feel that 2019 has been a pivotal year for environmental issues, with the younger generation being most conscious of their impact. So much so, that an incredible 85% of 16-29-year-olds are striving to have a more sustainable festive season this year, while almost 1 in 10 (9%) Brits have even been persuaded by their children or grandchildren to be more environmentally conscious this Christmas.

And it seems that money is no barrier when it comes to being greener this year as, despite 55% of adults believing a more ethical Christmas will be more costly, the average Brit is prepared to spend an additional £281 to ensure their Christmas is more sustainable. As well as money, people are also taking the time to be more environmentally conscious, spending on average an extra nine hours on their ethical efforts.

The study also revealed the ways in which Brits plan to be more sustainable this Christmas including:
Buying locally produced food (33%)
Using recycled wrapping paper (31%)
Not sending Christmas cards (29%)
Shunning plastic packaging (28%)
Buying the majority of gifts and food from the local high street (27%)
Minimising family travelling plans (21%)
Eating less meat (20%)
Giving homemade gifts (18%)
Travelling on public transport (17%)
Making handmade decorations (17%)

As well as giving more sustainably, what they receive matters too, with 35% of Brits claiming they’d rather have one carefully chosen, locally bought gift than a mountain of plastic-wrapped generic items, and 36% saying they would be dismayed to receive an unsustainable gift this year.

Jeni Mundy, managing director, UK & Ireland, Visa commented: “It is heartening to see more people are choosing to shop locally this Christmas, particularly as this is a great way to be more sustainable during the festive season. This is great news for independent retailers across the UK, who we are supporting with our #WhereYouShopMatters campaign.

“Whether it’s for locally sourced produce, a bespoke gift or simply to enjoy and support the local community, People across the UK are thinking more and more about what they are buying and where they are buying it from. In fact, 68% of those surveyed agreed that where they shop is as important as what they are buying, proving where you shop really does matter.”

Visa is working with a number of independent retailers again this year and one of the stars of its 2019 Christmas campaign is Rob Hagen, owner of East Bristol Bakery. Rob firmly believes that shopping locally is important to being more sustainable, commenting: “At East Bristol Bakery we source our produce directly from local suppliers and farmers, as we think shopping locally is really important to building a sustainable food eco-system. It’s great to see Visa supporting independent retailers for a second year running through their Where You Shop Matters campaign and we look forward to welcoming Bristol’s shoppers to our store.”

Visa wants to put independent shopkeepers front and centre during the festive season, so it has launched a nationwide competition inviting shopkeepers to recreate the brand’s Christmas advert to show why ‘Where You Shop Matters’. The winning retailer will see their advert air during a prime-time advertising slot in the run-up to Christmas for millions to see.


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