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People not considering gifting second-hand, despite the rising cost-of-living

Monday, 06 November 2023 Mind
  • 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.
  • But only one in ten (13%) of these people would choose to gift items that have been purchased second-hand.
  • Mind is urging people to consider charity shopping for their gifts this Christmas to help save money.

Almost half (48%) of people in England and Wales are shopping more in charity shops or are considering doing so because of the rising cost of living, new research* from the mental health charity Mind has found. Over half (53%) of these people say the reason is items are cheaper second-hand, and over a third (37%) say they like supporting charity.

But as few as just over one in 10 (13%) of these people say they prefer to gift items that have been purchased second hand.

Choosing to gift second hand from a charity shop can be a great way to save money while supporting a good cause. Despite this, there is often a misconception that these items are worn or outdated, or perhaps an assumption that gifting second-hand items will be frowned upon.

The new research comes as the Christmas gifting season approaches, bringing with it the burden of financial worries to so many. Especially as the cost-of-living crisis continues to squeeze household budgets.

Mind is urging the public to consider shopping at its stores this Christmas, as they offer high quality items that could make the perfect gift for friends and family. Items range from books to clothing, to homeware and accessories, with each shop hosting a unique collection of treasures.

Emily Nuttall, 30, is a part-time student from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. She has experience of anxiety, depression, PTSD and self-harm. On buying second hand gifts, she says:

“Growing up, our family motto was to always give back to charity at Christmas time, and I love doing so through buying gifts at their shops. We find gifting second-hand items has more meaning than spending lots of money. Last year, I managed to find a fidget toy for my younger cousin in a charity shop which was over half the price of buying it brand new.

“The cost-of-living crisis, working a zero-hour contract and being a student has had a huge impact on my finances and my mental health. And when it comes to Christmas, I have always worried about not buying or giving enough presents to others. But I now know it’s not about the gifts themselves, but about finding items that are personal and sentimental to who you are buying for. Charity shopping reduces my stress, so I know my finances won’t be worse off after Christmas and I can still gift in a beautiful and unique way.”

Andrew Vale, Director of Retail at Mind, said:

“We know that Christmas and the pressure to buy and receive presents can bring enormous financial strain, with the rising cost-of-living only making this worse. We also know that this can bring increased anxiety, stress and worry to so many of us.

“That’s why Mind is encouraging shoppers to think again about the unique gift of a preloved item. 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.

“We are in the middle of a mental health crisis and that’s why we need the public’s support more than ever. When you buy your gifts from one of our shops you are helping to fund support services like the Mind Infoline, Side by Side and legal line, and the campaigning we do to make sure everyone gets support and respect.”

Last year, Mind shops across England and Wales collectively raised £6.5 million which helps fund the charity’s vital work.

There are 160 Mind shops embedded in the heart of local communities across England and Wales. To find out more about your local Mind shop, please visit:

*The research was conducted by Censuswide, among a sample of 3,015 general respondent in England and Wales (England nationally representative by age, gender and region, and Wales nationally representative by age and gender. The sample was also weighted by country. The data was collected between 24.03.23 - 12.04.23. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

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