Charity shops record online sales boost amid Covid recovery

Charities have recorded a boom in online sales during the last first half of the year that has carried on even after High Street shops reopened following Covid lockdown.

The figures have been reported by online platform Shopiago for the six months between February and July 2021, which includes lockdown earlier this year and the reopening of non-essential retail in April.

During this period there was a 151% increase in the number of items sold by charities via Shopiago’s online platform, which is used by charities including British Red Cross, Sue Ryder, Barnardo’s and the British Heart Foundation. (BHF).

Shopiago says that many charities have seen a peak in internet sales this summer.

Pet supplies, baby products and sporting memorabilia are among top selling items by charities during Spring and Summer this year.

“Charities across the country are increasingly understanding that online can significantly support in-store revenue. In fact, online sales have provided a funding lifeline for many charities during the pandemic, when their high street shops have shut and fundraising events haven’t happened,” said Thom Bryan, head of product at Shopiago.

Jonathan Mail, head of public affairs at the Charity Retail Association, added: “Many charities are switched on to the benefits of selling donated items online, which has provided a vital support during the tough times of the last 18 months. However, shoppers themselves don’t always know where to start when it comes to charity shopping online.

“Bricks and mortar shops will always be the lifeblood of the charity retail sector, not only for sales, but for collecting donations, and finding the treasures that fetch good prices online. Now people using our ‘find an online shop’ tool can choose whether to stay home and shop or head out to a store in person - either way, supporting your favourite charities is more important than ever.”

Lockdown losses

According to the CRA the average charity shop lost more than £33,000 in income when High Streets closed during the last lockdown.

The reopening of retail saw a surge in sales, with Sense and BHF among charities reporting record sales figures.

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