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EDITORIAL Charity begins online

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Charity shops have been particularly hard hit by the lockdowns and pandemic. Pre-Covid, they were almost totally reliant on stores for sales. That has all changed over the past 18 months and, while somewhat late to the party, charity stores may be about to not only have their day in the sun, but also become a sales channel for other retailers.

According to 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, 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.

Interestingly, the changes wrought by the pandemic is driving this. Increasing pet ownership, a baby boom, working from home and home renovations have all seen consumers looking for second-hand goods online. The fact that many people have also been furloughed and are watching the pennies has also driven this up.

Charities have had to look to ‘charity marketplaces’ to help shift things online, but are also looking at other outlets such as eBay. This in turn has seen more shoppers finding it easier than ever to find these items online. This has helped to plug the £10bn funding gap that UK charities have seen over the pandemic, but more it has changed how people look at buying pre-loved goods.

The drive to be more sustainable has played nicely into this – and other retailers and brands are taking note. Many retailers are looking at how to team up with charities and online charity marketplaces such as Shopiago to look at how to sell new and end of line goods.

This brings together charity and clearance, giving consumer much more choice and control over their environmental impact. It is also helping to make things more affordable. Going forward we could be looking at these sites becoming a place to actually sell goods – and perhaps also help charities to boot – as retail sees yet another shift

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