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Charity shops see 185% increase in online sales as pet products and laptops start to plug the £10bn finding gap

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There has been a 185% increase in the number of items sold by charities online in the past six months  to August,  with the majority of sales taking place via eBay, which enables charities to sell to a wider audience without fees. 

So finds analysis of traffic from second-hand platform Shopiago, which partners with charities including the British Red Cross, Sue Ryder, Barnardo’s and  the British Heart Foundation, which also suggests that online is starting plug the estimated £10bn charity funding gap that has appeared across the pandemic.

According to the data, certain donations have seen an unprecedented spike in online sale prices in recent months, including pet supplies, baby products, sporting goods, toys and games and even laptops and phones.

According to Shopiago 3.2 million of consumers in the UK have acquired a pet since the first lockdown and the market for second-hand pet supplies has boomed as a result. Charities using Shopiago have seen an increase of 162% in the average sale prices of donated pet supplies online from February to August 2021.

At the end of 2020 some UK regions reported a sharp increase in antenatal appointments, suggesting some of us who didn’t get a puppy may have opted for a tiny human instead. Baby kit that’s been donated to charity shops has certainly seen a big increase in online sale prices – in fact Shopiago has reported an increase in average sale prices of 73% since February 2021.

The 2021 summer of sport has provided a much-needed boost to the nation’s morale and no doubt the Olympics and Paralympics will contribute to even more growth here. In line with this, charities have seen a spike in sales of sporting goods online, with an increase in average sale prices of 44% from February to August. 

As the nation enjoys a summer of staying  in caravans and cottages up and down the country, online charity shoppers are finding ways to keep themselves amused with simple all-weather pastimes appearing to be on the rise. The data shows an increase in average sale price for toys and games of 104%.


With working from home set to continue indefinitely for many, online sales of donated computers, laptops and tablets have been on the rise for many charities, who often have specialist teams dedicated to safely wiping and resetting donated kit. In fact, the number of laptops and tablets sold by charities via Shopiago has increased by 110%. Likewise, prices for business and office supplies have jumped by 42%.

Thom Bryan, head of product at Shopiago, comments: “It is really interesting to see these trends emerging. Clearly the cultural impact of the various lockdowns saw many people make big life decisions like having a baby or getting a puppy, where others were drawn to classic pastimes like sport and gardening.”

He adds:  “More and more UK charities are realising that there is a huge opportunity to generate funds by listing shop donations online and so in future we look forward to growing insight on how trends develop and how consumer tastes change. Shopiago also enables charities to do ‘click and collect’ at scale online, so one of our predictions is to see a  boom in second hand furniture over the coming months, following in fashion’s footsteps .”

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