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For Conscious Consumers, A Holiday Twist: Spending Less But Giving More

BBMG survey finds emphasis on local, handmade, practical goods; and memorable experiences instead of traditional gifts

Submitted by: BBMG

Categories: Green Products & Services, Research, Reports & Publications

Posted: Nov 26, 2010 – 08:17 AM EST


NEW YORK, Nov. 26 /CSRwire/ - A new study by brand innovation firm BBMG finds that America's conscious consumers are spending less but giving more this holiday season, focusing on local, homemade, organic, and donations to good causes as top gift choices that prize unique, memorable experiences over more stuff.

"In a recession we expect consumers to get thrifty and creative, but we’re learning that it goes way beyond cost savings for consumers who care about doing good," said Raphael Bemporad, BBMG's Chief Strategy Officer. "These consumers are actively choosing to promote causes they believe in--sustainable brands big and small--and are committed to creating lasting memories while reducing waste in their lives."

BBMG turned to The Collective, its private online community of conscious consumers, to find out how these shoppers will allocate their holiday dollars. The firm has conducted conversations with hundreds of conscious consumers over the last month; preliminary findings include a few surprises:

  • Spending less, but giving more: About half of respondents plan to spend less on holiday shopping than they did last year. Regardless of spend, there's a growing emphasis on do-good giving: about a quarter plan to spend more with companies whose proceeds are donated to a "good cause," and a similar number plans to increase spending on philanthropic donations (in lieu of gifts).

  • The Etsy effect: Many respondents are re-evaluating their role as consumers, choosing instead to make gifts such as food or crafts. More than half plan to make gifts, and many will turn to sites like Etsy in search of locally made goods.

  • Clutter is out; memories are in: A vast majority of respondents will consider giving experiences--such as trips or tickets--instead of actual gifts, which are seen as less unique and less eco-friendly.

  • Local even more important than organic: While 29% said they plan to spend more on organic gifts this year than they did last year, a full 38 percent plan to spend more on locally produced gifts, and 31% will increase their search for fair-trade goods. 42% plan to spend more on environmentally friendly gifts this year.

  • Spreading consciousness to others: The increased awareness of holiday waste will bode well for companies such as Amazon and eBay--where conscious consumers plan to purchase vintage or used gifts. Similarly, their own wish lists include low-impact, highly practical items such as reusable lunch bags, gardening tools, bicycles, and memberships to community-supported agriculture co-ops.

For the past three years, BBMG, which specializes in creating and promoting sustainable brands, has studied the values and habits that drive U.S. consumers to purchase with a purpose. This growing consumer segment, which represents 30 percent of the U.S. population, is more likely to punish or reward companies with brand loyalty based on their social and environmental practices, and is more likely to share their opinions through a variety of social channels. These highly informed consumers are incredibly powerful boosters--or detractors--for brands big and small.

For more information, please visit http://www.bbmg.com.

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