Brand Strategy Sustainable Consumer Sentiment

IPA survey finds sustainability tops most young adult wish lists this Christmas


By John Glenday, Reporter

August 6, 2021 | 3 min read

All I want for Christmas is... a replantable tree, according to the latest seasonal survey commissioned by the IPA, which elevates upcycling over socks.


Young people are wishing for a more sustainable Christmas this year

The trade body found that 56% of 18-24 year-olds intend to act sustainably this year, dispensing with the mountains of gift wrapping and unwanted presents associated with the time of unbridled giving.

Young adults are putting the planet before themselves this Christmas with a pronounced desire to buy locally, upcycle and refurbish when buying gifts for loved ones.

A poll of 2,000 UK adults conducted by Opinium found that 56% of 18-25-year-olds intend to be greener this Christmas, far ahead of the paltry 27% of 45-54-year-olds and a scant 25% of the over-55s.

The demographic split dovetails with measures taken by brands to capitalize on shifting sentiment, including Love a Christmas Tree, which is delivering real Nordmann Fir trees direct to your door from their Leicestershire farm – with a promise to collect and replant it in January.

The in-depth analysis found that 52% are chomping at the bit to let their hair down this festive break if circumstances permit, with 51% expecting to have a better time this year than they did in 2020. Years of social distancing have left 45% unusually enthusiastic to become reacquainted with aunts, uncles and other extended family members.

IPA insight analyst Luke Green said: “While it appears that half of the UK population will be channeling 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.”

Gemma Smyth, senior planner at VCCP, added: “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.”

Above all else, people are hankering for a return to some sense of normality with 36% seeking an overt Christmas tone in adverts, while 24% seek optimism, 21% humor and 17% nostalgia. By contrast, the desire to be hit with more Covid-19-centric ads stands at 5%.

Brand Strategy Sustainable Consumer Sentiment

Content created with:

More from Brand Strategy

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +