Millions of bargain-hunting Brits prefer buying second-hand goods to new ones

- Published:
- Short URL:

Millions of Brits admit they get more of a ‘buzz’ from buying second hand goods than they do from new, it has emerged.

Research revealed the average adult has purchased at least 12 nearly-new bargains over the last 12 months, claiming to feel ‘thrilled’ and even ‘smug’ amid the process.

According to the study, items most commonly purchased in charity shops and via second-hand sites include furniture, books, sports equipment and toys.

School uniforms, baby clothes and art work are also popular products which are given a second lease of life after being snapped up by bargain-hunters.

The report also found one in four of those polled reckon shopping for second-hand goods will soon become more popular among cash-savvy Brits than buying new.

Overall almost nine in 10 adults said they happily buy used items, while one in eight admitted they get more satisfaction from buying second-hand than brand new.

The study comes after many Glastonbury artists donated clothes to Oxfam over the weekend, including Kylie Minogue’s sun visor, in support against ‘throwaway fashion’.

Fee Gilfeather, sustainable fashion expert from Oxfam, which commissioned the research to mark ‘Second-hand-September’, said: “It’s heartening to see how buying second hand makes Brits feel they are doing some good by giving clothes a second chance.

“Not only is it good for the environment, it could see you get a real bargain.

“Shoppers high’ is a feeling everyone loves now and again – that thrill you get when you treat yourself to something new, even if it’s just new to you.

“The challenge we have set is to see if you can go the whole of September without buying any brand new items of clothing to help minimise the amount of things that end up in landfills needlessly every year.

”So if you’re chasing that thrill, second-hand shops are the way to go.”

The study also found in order to make second-hand shopping more accessible, 29 per cent would like to see recycled sections in high street stores.

And one quarter said they would buy more hand-me-down items if there was more available online.

Three in 10 also believe the increase in second-hand shopping is due to the rise of clothing sites and apps.

It also emerged one sixth shop for pre-loved items because they enjoy searching for the perfect item and one in four see it as a chance to buy branded products at cheaper prices.

Additionally a sentimental one in three said they were often keen to know the story behind an item before making a purchase.

The study also found that when it comes to holiday shopping, three in 10 are happy to buy a previously-owned suitcase, while one in five would buy a second-hand handbag for their travels.

Two in 10 would buy t-shirts and one sixth would happily buy a sun dress.

It also emerged we buy on average seven new items before going on holiday and spend around £58 – with one in ten admitting to spending up to £100.

More than one third buy new clothing before a holiday due to replace worn-out or damaged items and three in 10 admitted they do so purely because they find it ‘exciting’.

A further one in 10 even admitted they buy new holiday clothes because they don’t want to be seen in photos wearing the same outfit twice.

However, one quarter of those polled via OnePoll said they do their pre-sunshine break shopping in charity shops due to the fact they will only wear the items once or twice.

Fee added: “Shopping for a summer holiday can be part of the experience for some people – and there’s no reason to feel bad about that.

“Moving away from ‘fast fashion’ not only means you can save some money, but it also saves some of the 11 million items of clothing that end up in a landfill every week.”


  1. Car
    2. Books
    3. DVD’s
    4. Bike
    5. Dining room table
    6. Wardrobe or chest of drawers
    7. Art work
    8. Video games
    9. Lawn mower
    10. Sports equipment – golf clubs, tennis rackets, hockey sticks
    11. TV
    12. Pet cage
    13. Laptop or tablet
    14. Jacket/Coat
    15. Sofa
    16. Clothing hangers
    17. Phones
    18. Handbag
    19. Suitcases
    20. Children’s toys
    21. Phone/computer charger
    22. Designer goods
    23. Pushchair or pram
    24. Plates, cups or mugs
    25. Fridge
    26. An evening dress for an event
    27. Washing machine
    28. Jeans
    29. T-shirts
    30. Shirts
    31. Children’s clothes (aged 2-15)
    32. Dishwasher
    33. Microwave
    34. Bed
    35. Sports clothes – for skiing or snowboarding etc.
    36. Suit
    37. Holiday clothes
    38. Roller-skates
    39. Cot
    40. Shoes
    41. Ties
    42. School uniform
    43. Hats
    44. Wedding dress
    45. Frying pan
    46. Headphones
    47. Baby grows
    48. Football boots or running shoes
    49. Gloves
    50. Crash helmet


Press contact

For comments, interviews, or information please contact the Oxfam GB Media Team: