Monday, December 21, 2009

French 'green' gifting to save money and the planet

A used book or nearly-new kitchen gadget may not be at the top of every Christmas wish list, but hard economic times coupled with a new green awareness are changing attitudes about gift-giving in France.

French holiday shoppers are opting in larger numbers for "green" gifting this Christmas, studies show.

About 30 percent of French consumers will give second-hand items as gifts to stretch out their tight budgets but also to do their little bit for recycling, according to a study by international consulting firm Deloitte.

The survey of Christmas consumer behaviours in 18 European countries found the French were more than twice as likely as other Europeans to give second-hand items, making France a pioneer in the trend.

Paris office worker Flavi Verrey said she found holiday happiness online by buying second-hand gifts such as an old DVD of Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" for her husband along with used copies of his favourite comic strips.

For her nieces, she chose old jewellery, spending a grand total of 20 euros.

"I like the idea that things that once belonged to someone can be of use to someone else," said Verrey.

The 32-year-old mother did not list budget concerns as a major reason for re-gifting but rather sees herself adopting a new consumer attitude that does not need to buy new and wants to reduce waste.

"I do feel that we are at a turning point. People are more aware about how they spend and the choices they make," said Verrey.

Websites promoting re-gifting and green gifting are flourishing in France, with many reporting a rise in business.

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