NEW YORK–Concerns about environmental degradation and less availability of discretionary spending funds combined to alter consumers’ holiday shopping this year.
An annual study by KPMG LLP found that consumers were more willing this year to consider a “green quotient” in products and check a product’s country of origin before making a purchase. However, in light of a worsening economy, fewer shoppers this season said they spent more than they had last season.
Shoppers were more likely to purchase gifts “to fit their social conscience,” according to John Rittenhouse, a partner at the firm. He added that 60 percent of survey respondents said they would pay more for environmentally beneficial products, while 88 percent said they were “very concerned about the environment.” In addition, 40 percent of shoppers said they now check the country of origin before buying a gift, and almost a third said they would not buy a gift if it were manufactured in a country of which they disapproved.
Rittenhouse credited the new environmental awareness largely to “recent publicity on the environment and manufacturing issues in emerging markets.”
The home furnishings industry is no stranger to the growing demand for green products. Both hard and soft home manufacturers in recent years have increased their focus on environmentally friendly products such as organic cotton sheets, towels, mattresses and pillows, furniture constructed from bamboo and other sustainable and recycled woods, floor coverings using natural materials such as wool and hemp and energy and water-efficient major appliances.