Jan 22, 2020
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Most UK Christmas shoppers avoided glitter items in eco focus

Jan 22, 2020

Some ​57.6% of UK Christmas shoppers avoided purchasing glitter products, a new survey has revealed. The finding highlights retailers’ need to address growing consumer demands for environmentally-friendly products.

According to GlobalData’s ‘Christmas in the UK – 2019’ report, 64.3% of Christmas shoppers said sustainability was more important to them in 2019 compared to 2018.

Avoiding glitter, often made from plastic, became one of the ways consumers embraced sustainability over the festive season as climate change and ocean pollution have become larger international issues. 

Emily Salter, retail analyst at GlobalData, said: “Christmas got a glitter-free makeover in 2019 due to greater awareness surrounding the damage associated with the plastic, as 57.6% of Christmas shoppers avoided purchasing cards and gift wrap items containing glitter.” 

While some supermarkets including John Lewis, Tesco and Marks & Spencer took the first steps towards removing glitter from some products (M&S even went as far as removing the offending material from its entire Christmas range), glitter remained prevalent in seasonal fashion and beauty offerings.

“Other retailers must keep up with the grocers’ actions as shopper expectations surrounding glitter and single-use plastics change, though discounters may struggle as plastic-free glitter is likely to be more expensive than its traditional form,” Salter continued.

Consumers’ focus on sustainability is not going away, and retailers need to do more to encourage shoppers to make more sustainable choices, GlobalData said. Retail businesses can do this by reducing plastic use in their own ranges and sourcing materials locally where possible, as well as demanding that brands they stock do the same.

“In terms of sustainability, the focus of Christmas 2019 was predominantly on [eliminating] plastic, and this is likely to continue into 2020 as a greater number of retailers make further commitments to reducing single-use plastic in their Christmas ranges,” Salter said.

"The most pressing environmental issue though is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so 2020 may be the year that retailers take meaningful actions towards circularity and carbon neutrality, with consumers increasingly opting for experience gifts instead.”

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