It’s Not Just About What’s Under The Tree, It’s About The Tree

November 20th, 2019

It’s Not Just About What’s Under The Tree, It’s About The Tree

Conscious Holiday Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retailers 


According to Accenture’s 13th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey, collected from 1,500 U.S. consumers, this holiday season shoppers will be looking for products that are produced and sold by sustainable businesses. Respondents indicated the desire to understand the origin of the materials of products they consume, as well as being presented the option to purchase package-free products.

“Responsible retailing and sustainability will be weighing on consumers’ minds this holiday season,” said Lori Zumwinkle, the Accenture’s managing director and North American retail lead. “Shoppers are looking at business operations that retailers exhibit, delivery of merchandise, operational efficiencies within their stores, as well as how sustainable retailers’ products are.”

Nearly half of the respondents indicated they will choose delivery options with a lower environmental impact, such as “no-rush” shipping and in-store pick up. Consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental implications of express shipping, which include elevated pollution levels caused by increased ground transportation.


Aside from the implications of shipping and delivery options on the environmental landscape, the study found that forty-five percent of shoppers are more likely to shop in stores that address social issues through their business practices and working conditions.

Furthermore, most consumers indicated they plan on shopping both, online and in-store this holiday season. While mobile and digital dominated headlines in the previous years, this year we see a trend toward physical stores again. It turns out that the store is even more important to shoppers than originally thought in previous years. Every generation, including millennials and Gen Z, prefer physical stores when making a purchase. The driving factor of the decision-making process, however, lies in the in-store experience that a store provides. 

“Retailers need to plan their strategy around the customer experience, leveraging data to really understand who their most valued customers are, as well as, where they are and where they shop, and creating experiences for consumers so that it’s fun and inviting while they shop,” Zumwinkle said. 

American Eagle, for instance, offers free in-store laundry services in one of their flagship stores, allowing their young shoppers to browse the store while doing the dreadful task of taking care of laundry. This concept may be out there, but the message is clear, for shoppers and retailers, the store is no longer just a transactional experience. Retailers who embrace the change and think outside of the box, I mean store, will be rewarded.


With the focus of shoppers broadening beyond the gifts that lay below their trees, it is essential for retailers to consider and address the values that are being emphasized by their costumers and potential customers. With a few minor tweaks you can fall on your customer’s radar and make the holidays a celebration that makes them feel good about what they spend and the retailers they choose to buy from.  


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