New research released by SAP reveals that despite ongoing cost of living challenges, over half (52%) of UK consumers aged 18-34 are actively looking to shop more from retailers with strong sustainability credentials this Christmas.

Less than a third (30%) of all UK consumers are prioritising sustainable purchases but two in five (39%) of 18-34-year-olds are even prepared to pay significantly more for a sustainable product or service.

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Findings from SAP show that growing consumer demand for better sustainability credentials has not taken a backseat during challenging times for consumers. Supply chain issues have been disastrous for organisations in the UK this year and consumer-packaged goods/ retail brands are hoping the run up to Christmas will see the traditional spike in retail spending.

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Four in ten (40%) UK consumers are prioritising food and drink, when it came to their Christmas spending this year, and more than four in ten (43%) are looking to buy locally sourced products for their Christmas dinner or lunch, this rises to over half (54%) in younger respondents.

Locally sourced food is the most popular sustainability option among UK consumers. Second hand goods were far less popular with only a quarter (27%) saying they would be looking for second-hand or upcycled products as Christmas gifts. Again, young consumers buck the trend as almost half (49%) will be looking to buy second-hand or upcycled products as gifts this Christmas, compared to only 12% of 55+.

Only a third (33%) of all consumers are willing to wait longer if it means they can obtain sustainable products and/ or services. Younger consumers are more patient, with over half (51%) of 18-34-year-olds willing to wait longer for sustainable purchases, compared to 28% of 35-54-year-olds and 24% of 55+.

Despite total spend over the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend likely to decrease from traditional levels, it still presents itself as one of the key calendar events for consumers looking to grab the opportunity to shop discounted products. Over a third (36%) of UK consumers plan to shop more online this Christmas, signalling a need for retailers to review their online assets to ensure a fast, seamless, and personalised experience during this year’s major shopping weekend:

  • Younger generations are more in favour of online shopping, with 46% of 18-34-year-olds planning to do all of their shopping online.
  • Almost half (45%) said that they plan to shop equally between online and in-store
  • For those shopping more online, convenience was the main reason for this (56%). Other factors included avoiding the crowds (47%), better prices and offers (40%), saving money on travel expenses (24%), wanting to avoid COVID-19 or other illnesses (17%).

“Brands have come a long way towards putting purpose first and empowering the consumer to make sustainable decisions in their everyday lives. It was a priority for most CPG and retail brands towards the end of last year, in response to rising consumer demand, and this research reiterates just how front of mind sustainability must be, particularly to younger consumers, despite ongoing cost of living issues,” comments Goutam Dev, Vice President, Strategic Customer Program and Consumer Industry Group, SAP UK&I.

“Christmas is fast approaching, which will hopefully provide some much-needed festive cheer for consumers and brands alike. Our research showed that while consumers need to be watchful of their spending, over a quarter (26%) felt that advertising in the holiday period had become melancholier since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two thirds (65%) believed that Christmas adverts should be jollier, in spite of the current economic climate. There’s still much to look forward to during the holiday season.”

Goutam concludes, “To continue to attract customers, retailers and consumer goods organisations need to focus their efforts in three key directions – providing unrivalled customer experience, maintaining high sustainability credentials, and ensuring resilient value chains. As we all navigate the rocky path ahead, there is still hope that consumers and retail and CPG brands can have a good end to 2022.”