charity retail trends

Charity retail trends: is charity shopping changing?

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The pandemic caused a real shake-up in the third sector. It forced charity shops to change how they operated overnight. But it brought about changes that were already happening anyway. Charity retail has been shifting for some time; it just came about sooner than expected.


Now that we’re post-pandemic and the dust is settling, we can more clearly see how this is going to affect charities and people’s shopping habits. But in what ways are things changing? And what does that mean for your charity?


A move to sustainability

The focus on sustainability has slowly been increasing for at least a decade now. And charity shops in particular have become a big part of people’s efforts to shop more sustainably. Back at the start of the pandemic, a study found that 60% of people were making more environmentally friendly or ethical purchases.


What better place to do that than at a charity shop? Especially since fast fashion is, well, falling out of fashion. People want sustainable options – such as buying secondhand clothes – and a good deal. Charities tick both boxes. It’s not unusual to see people search charity shops for a great find. If you aren’t already, maybe look at how integral clothing is to your shop. How can you draw in foot traffic of people out for a steal?


Larger ticket items are a must

Speaking of good deals, the cost of everything is going up. It’s no secret. So people aren’t just looking for inexpensive clothes at charity shops; they’re looking for everything. This includes larger ticket items such as furniture.


New furniture is one of the most expensive items people have to buy for their home. Beds, sofas, and electrical items like TVs can easily cost over £1,000. Anyone looking to furnish their home for less will no doubt turn to charity shops first. With big names like Debenhams having to close, will we see charities take up all that space to house their furniture? We wouldn’t be surprised.


A move to digital

The pandemic showed us that our usual way of living can be turned upside down in an instant. For charities that rely on their retail operations, shops having to close was devastating. According to the Charity Retail Association, the average charity lost over £33,000 per shop because of the lockdown.


So it’s no surprise that 81% of charities embraced digital solutions during the pandemic. And even though we’re back to “normal”, that isn’t going anywhere. Now charities have access to online shops, meaning their stock has more reach. No one in their local area might want those vintage boots, but someone on the other side of the country might. It means charities can’t rely just on brick and mortar. The smart option is to enjoy a mix of both.


Online shopping, sustainable options, and large items are all going to be the backbone on charity retail for the coming years. And that’s a fantastic thing. It means you can shape your operations to meet these demands. Equip yourself with the tools you need to make the most of this shifting landscape.


Make sure your EPoS doesn’t let you down. Easily keep track of stock no matter where you are, maximise the Gift Aid you claim, and integrate your online stores with ease. CHARiotWeb was designed with the charity sector in mind. So why not embrace change? Get in touch with us on 01204 706000 to find out more and schedule a demo.