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Christmas trading could be a slow burner for charity shops, says Oxfam

Posted by Claire Wilkinson Senior PR Press Officer

14th Dec 2012

Despite a slow start, new research from Oxfam says that the number of people considering buying their Christmas gifts from a charity shop is up by over a third compared to those that did last year.

A YouGov survey commissioned by the charity last week revealed that more than one in three Britons (38%) say they are likely to buy a gift from a charity shop this year, compared to 28 per cent who did so last year, an increase of a third.  The figures suggest that nearly 19 million adults could be buying their Christmas gifts from a charity shop this year, with people in the East Midlands (46%), Scotland (46%) and the South West (42%) being the most in favour.

Oxfam has seen a slight decline in sales over October and November in comparison to last year echoing the sentiment of the high street, with many retailers seeing signs that shoppers are playing a waiting game to secure the best prices for their Christmas spending.  With a strong Christmas for the charity last year, (20 per cent year-on-year increase in sales of second hand goods, with both books and music achieving their best sales of the previous five years) like other retailers Oxfam is hopeful for a last minute rush.

The research has revealed an obvious change in attitude towards buying Christmas gifts from charity shops, which Oxfam is capitalising on with stock geared towards the festive season. Vintage homewares, books and music have proved best sellers in previous years, and the charity is also stocking ranges of ethical gifts and Christmas cards.

 Of those considering charity shop gifts this year, almost half (47%) said it was because giving to charity at Christmas was important, while others said it was down to the products on offer with almost a third (30%) drawn to the unique items, 29% liking the choice of ethical gifts, 28% attracted by the vintage items and 27% by the high quality of items available.

Although Christmas cards (58%) still top the list of items people are most likely to buy from a charity shop, books (44%), and ethical products (32%) are not far behind.  The survey also revealed that nearly a third (28%) of Britons who would consider buying a gift from a charity shop say friends are the most likely recipient of a charity gift, with children and mums (each 19%) next in line.

Andrew Horton, Oxfam's Director of Trading, said: "It appears that we're not alone in noticing a slower October and November but the results of this research are a boost to confidence as we head towards the last minute Christmas rush. In this current climate of austerity, when many people are feeling the pinch, Oxfam is a great destination for uncovering those rare, high quality items that won't break the bank, from vintage clothing and jewellery, collectable books and vinyl, to ethical gifts and home wares. Not only will you be amazed how many names you can tick off your shopping list, you will also be helping people out of poverty all around the world."


For more information and product images, please contact:

Claire Wilkinson, Oxfam Press Office +44 (0)1865 473648 | +44 (0)7825 196769|

Notes to editor:

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2138 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th - 28th November 2012.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
  • Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty.  Oxfam is working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.  Oxfam has more than 700 high street shops across the UK and Ireland and is the only charity retailer to operate a textile sorting facility, Wastesaver in Huddersfield.

Blog post written by Claire Wilkinson

Senior PR Press Officer

More by Claire Wilkinson