Categories: News and Resources

Katie Ferro


It has been ten years since Time magazine’s front cover heralded the rise of the ethical consumer. With Australians gearing up to spend about $20 billion over the Christmas holiday period, we asked our Soapbox panel about their ethical considerations when purchasing Christmas gifts.

In the first of our two-part insight into Australia’s Christmas Shopping Habits, we delved deeper into consumer buying preferences, analysing responses from men and women from 18 to 85+ years-old across Australia.

Our research highlighted the following findings:

Local and sustainable products the most popular ethical consideration

Overall, buying local products was the most popular ethical consideration, endorsed by 88% of respondents, closely followed by sustainability at 87%, then supply chain (ethical provenance) at 79% and ethically sourced goods at 78%. Respondents considered charity donations the least popular consideration at 66%.

Key trends in the ethical considerations behind a purchase

Exploring the overall findings further highlighted that:

While the majority of respondents felt that purchasing local products was a ‘fairly important’ consideration, the age groups most likely to describe local products as ‘very important’ were 50 to 59-year-olds at 18%, and 66 to 85+-year-olds at 14%.

  • Those labelling sustainability as ‘very important’ were fairly evenly distributed across age and gender groups, with 22 to 29-years-olds most likely to be strong supporters of sustainability.
  • Nearly a quarter of male and female respondents dismissed supply chain(ethical provenance) as ‘not important’. The age group most likely to describe supply chain (ethical provenance) as a ‘very important’ consideration, was the 50–59-year-old group.
  • The age group least likely to describe the ethical source of gifts as ‘very’ important was 60 to 65-year-olds.

Intended total spend on ethical gifts this Christmas 

We asked our panellists to project their total Christmas Shopping spend and what percentage of this would be influenced by ethical considerations.

One emerging trend was that while people thought that ethical considerations were important, the actual percentage of their intended spend on ethical goods this Christmas was relatively subdued.