Young adults dream of green Christmas reveals IPA survey

Over half plan to be more sustainable this Christmas.

Fifty-six per cent of 18-24s plan to be more sustainable this Christmas including buying locally, upcycling or refurbishing gifts. This is one of the key findings from a nationally representative survey commissioned by the IPA and carried out by Opinium among a sample of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ that explores attitudes towards Christmas 2021.

According to the data, the younger generation leads the way in terms of their plans to be more sustainable this Christmas, however, the older generations also show some intention to follow suit, albeit to half the extent. For those aged 45-54, 27% say they intend to be more sustainable this Christmas, and those aged 55+: 25%.

As highlighted in the report, these findings align with steps taken by some brands to invest in their sustainability offering. Examples include frozen meal retailer Cook who will be carbon offsetting all of its Christmas Lunch bundles for 2021. Meanwhile, Love a Christmas Tree offers real Nordmann Fir trees delivered to customers’ doors from their Leicestershire family farm. Customers decorate and care for the tree during the festive period, then the company will pick it up and replant it in January.

The survey also details how people are planning to spend the festive period, whether they will enjoy it more due to missing out last year, and the tone they’d like to see from advertising.

Additional key survey findings:

  • Half (52%) of UK adults say they plan to make the most of Christmas 2021 if there are no restrictions in place.
  • Half of adults (51%) say they will enjoy the festivities more this year (including eating/drinking out, shopping, visiting attractions etc) because of missing out last year, rising to 72% of 18-24 year olds.
  • Socialising will also be key, with just under half of UK adults (45%) planning to see more of friends and family than they normally would at Christmas.
  • On-demand grocery delivery services will be more popular with men (26%) than women (15%) this Christmas. Londoners (35%) and 18-34s (39%) are also much more likely to use these services than average UK adults (21%).
  • Over a third (36%) of consumers want to see a festive tone in Christmas adverts this year, followed by ads that are upbeat or optimistic (24%), funny (21%) and nostalgic (17%). Meanwhile, the desire for COVID-19-focussed ads stands at only 5%.

Says Luke Green, Insight Analyst, IPA: "These figures reveal a complex array of consumer attitudes towards Christmas 2021. While it appears that half of the UK population will be channelling their pent-up excitement into enjoying Christmas 2021 more following last year’s enforced lockdown, others may still be cautious. What does leap out is that consumers intend to be more sustainable this year.

With ESG rising in importance for businesses too, this could be an opportunity for brands and their agencies to think about and communicate their sustainability credentials more this Christmas, while not losing sight of the festive feel. Using less glitter doesn’t mean our ads can’t still sparkle.

Commenting on the wider survey findings, Gemma Smyth, Senior Planner, VCCP says: "After such perpetual change, people are craving the comfort of festive period familiarities more than ever. Our challenge as storytellers will be in striking a tone that considers the array of situations people may be in - balancing classic Christmas codes, with optimism and hope, and offering empathy for those with less to celebrate... All while winning hearts and standing out in a playground where ad spend will certainly trump last year's.

The fight for mental availability will be intense, but we're looking forward to seeing what creativity comes out of the unique challenge Christmas 2021 presents.

The Christmas 2021 Insight Study Pack is available from the IPA website – free to IPA members, £99 to non-members. The research was undertaken by Opinium and fielded in June 2021.

Download the Christmas 2021 Insight Study Pack
Last updated 01 May 2024