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Brits turn to charity shops survey reveals

26/05/09
 

A new survey reveals that recession has encouraged 13% of cash-strapped Brits to turn to charity outlets to help stretch their budget and around six million people are now reliant to some degree on charity shops.

The economic situation has also encouraged more people to become charitable, with one-in-five (21%) of the population donating more goods.

According to the survey, women are more generous than men: just over half (51%) of the women questioned were charity shop donors before the recession and an additional 23% have now started donating.

These figures are revealed in a new study conducted by independent research company YouGov on behalf of specialist charity insurer Ecclesiastical.

According to the survey, the recession has caused a mini boom for charity shops in terms of both new shoppers and increased donations.

As well as encouraging more people through their doors, it has increased the frequency of visits by existing charity shoppers with almost one-in-five (18%) visiting more frequently than two years ago.

Of those respondents who buy goods from charity shops, the top five favourite items that bargain hunters are on the lookout for are:

1 Books, which 65% purchase

2 Clothes (45%)

3 Household items (32%)

4 DVDs/videos (24%)

5 Music (15%)

Motives for purchasing are dominated by support for the charity with two thirds (66%) of the respondents giving this as their main reason for charity shopping, with low prices (47%) and value for money (44%) also being important factors.

According to the survey, the recession has also caused two in 10 people (21%) to start donating goods to charities, although charities themselves are reporting a shortage of stock. Oxfam, which operates a chain of 714 shops nationally, is the latest to express concern saying that donations have fallen by 12% so far this year.

Steve Wood of Ecclesiastical Insurance said: “The number of new charity shoppers is a reflection of the pressure the recession is putting on people’s spending power. We’re simply not hitting the high street like we once were so we’re turning to better value and cheaper alternatives.

"This should be good news for charities who are seeing a decline in cash donations. It also appears that more people are giving goods to charity shops and that those who have always done so are giving more. This should also offer charities more support in difficult times.”

Total sample size was 2,140 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between May 1 and 5 2009. The survey was carried out online.

 
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