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Cost-of-living crisis sees Christmas shoppers looking for more secondhand & meaningful gifts


Recent surveys by Oxfam and British Heart Foundation suggest that shoppers are not only looking to reduce spending this Christmas but to choose more secondhand and meaningful gifts.

More than a third of festive shoppers (35%) will spend less on gifts this Christmas, typically cutting their budget by half, according to research commissioned by Oxfam and carried out by OnePoll. A combination of the cost-of-living crisis (66%), worries about gas and electricity bills (42%), a reluctance to get into debt (24%), and trying to be thriftier (39%), are driving people to cut back.

Almost three quarters (74%) of the 2,772 adults surveyed for Oxfam say that meaningful gifts, that don’t cost a lot, are best while concerns over the environmental impact of Christmas and a desire to shop more ethically are also driving shopping decisions.

23% of respondents said they’ll buy secondhand gifts this year because it’s more environmentally friendly. 27% say they will also choose gifts that have a positive social impact, such as charity gift cards or donations to a good cause.

More findings from Oxfam

More than one in 10 (12%) say they will buy second-hand gifts with books top of the list 24% have agreed with family and friends to cut back on giving this year 34% of those buying for others plan to spend less per person this year compared to last The average number of people on a Christmas gift list is reducing by one person, from 10 in 2021 to nine this year

Lorna Fallon, Director of Retail for the charity said:

“We’re finding more people are shopping for books this year and Christmas shopping is well underway for unique gifts that won’t break the bank.


“Womenswear and menswear sales in our shops are also up, suggesting that customers are turning to charity shops to make their pound go as far as possible whilst supporting good causes.”

Top 10 ways Brits will spend less on Christmas gifts this year

Reducing spend per person Only buying for immediate family Reducing spending circle (the total number of people to buy for) Purchasing fewer, more thoughtful presents Agreeing in advance with family where to spend less Only buying for the children in the family Buying secondhand gifts that are high value but lower in price Buying barely used or excellent condition secondhand books Giving more homemade presents Pooling together with friends and family to buy one gift for each family member

Similarly, a BHF survey of 2,010 people conducted by Censuswide found that almost half (46%) of Brits aged 16-24 and just over a fifth (22%) aged 55 and over said they will change their plans to buy from charity shops this festive season due to the crisis.

BHF also found secondhand books came top of the list (26%), followed by toys (20%) and clothes (17%).

This survey found that 37% of shoppers say they are motivated to buy their Christmas presents from charity retailers to help fund a good cause, 34% to save money, 22% to be able to find unexpected treasures/items, and 21% to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail Director, said:

“We know this festive season is going to be tougher for many families across the UK – and this survey shows that due to the rising cost of living, the need to make our money go further is even greater.”

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