Shoppers turning to charity shops due to the cost-of-living crisis, research suggests

07 Nov 2023 News

By highwaystarz, Adobe

Almost half (48%) of people in England and Wales are shopping more in charity shops or considering doing so because of the rising cost of living, according to new research.  

Some 53% of people surveyed said they were more likely to shop in charity shops as items are cheaper second-hand, while 37% said they would do so as they like supporting charitable causes. 

The Charity Retail Association (CRA) said the charity sector’s total retail income grew by 9.7% from April to June this year compared to the same period in 2022.

Mind: ‘There is a taboo around second-hand gifting’

Commissioned by mental health charity Mind, the research was conducted by Censuswide among a sample of 3,015 people in England and Wales. 

Despite most respondents saying they purchased items for themselves in charity shops, only 13% said they would prefer to gift items that have been bought second-hand. 

Andrew Vale, director of retail at Mind, said: “Our research shows us that more people are shopping in charity shops but our supporters are telling us there is a taboo around second-hand gifting. We’d love to see this change.”

According to the charity’s accounts ending March 2022, retail generated 10% of its overall income (£6.2m). 

CRA: ‘Sustainability has also become a major reason for shopping second-hand’

Both Mind and Charity Retail Association are urging people to consider buying gifts from charity shops this Christmas.

Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, said: “We know that charity shops across the UK are experiencing an increase in footfall and sales as people look to get the best value for their money as they face the challenge of the cost-of-living crisis.

“However, as well as affordability, sustainability has also become a major reason that shoppers have been choosing to prioritise charity shops in recent years, with people looking to make environmentally conscious purchases on their local high streets.

“For all these reasons, buying Christmas and other gifts from charity shops is a great option – you can save money, help save the planet and raise cash for good causes all at once.”

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