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Almost half of UK consumers plan to gift used items this Christmas

23.3 million (44%) UK consumers are planning to gift at least one ‘used’ gift this year, with 60% of those surveyed said that they were happy to receive a used gift this year, which is an increase from 45% when the survey first ran in 2020. Furthermore, only one fifth (21%) said they would be embarrassed to gift used, down 26% points from 2021 when the total was 47%.

So finds research from MPB, the world’s largest platform for buying and selling used camera equipment has revealed. MPB’s third annual ‘Gifting Used’ survey found a sizable shift in the nation’s attitudes to gifting this year in the run up to Christmas, including a marked decline in stigma or embarrassment linked to gifting used or second-hand items. 

The survey also found that this shift has been partly driven by financial concerns, with almost a third of respondents (30%) agreeing that they could not afford to buy presents in new condition this year (up 13% points compared with last year), as the cost-of-living crisis puts pressure on household incomes. Of those adults surveyed, Gen Z and Millennials were found to be the most affected by the cost-of-living crisis, with 56% of those surveyed agreeing that the cost-of-living crisis has made the decision to gift used more likely this year.

In addition, the research suggested that gifting used is also driven by environmental motives, with almost half (49%) of UK participants responding that they cared about the sustainability of the gifts they receive this year. This is at a record high over the three years the survey has been conducted, having increased 9% points since 2021, and 16% points compared to 2020. 

Alongside the research, MPB is urging consumers to ‘Pause, Consider and Act’ this year, amongst the chaos of Christmas shopping and sales. The campaign encourages consumers to slow down and consider what they have already purchased before simply buying new, having also taken the decision not to participate in Black Friday sales.  The company has continued its commitment to the One Tree Planted campaign, which will see a further 25,000 trees planted to help fight deforestation.

Commenting on the research, Matt Barker, Founder and CEO of MPB says:  “Given increasing environmental concerns around overconsumption, alongside the rising pressure on household income, it’s unsurprising that many of us are looking for alternatives to simply buying new, and it’s brilliant to see that the perceived stigma around gifting and purchasing used items is declining. 

“There is an abundance of well-functioning products in re-circulation out there, and many items, such as photo and video equipment, have fantastic manufacture quality and are built to last. Moreover, used models cost a third less than the same model new on average.

“Overall, buying and selling used is a win for your wallet and the planet alike, and putting more items into the circular economy is a win for the next owner too. While savvy shoppers are catching on to circular behaviour, there are so many people still out of the loop, and we would encourage them to join the used movement.”

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