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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Third lockdown hit charity retail hardest despite boost in online sales

This news post is almost 3 years old

Lockdown forced charities to increase online presence

New figure show Britain’s third Lockdown cost charity retailers £366m in lost revenue.

Quarterly market analysis by the Charity Retail Association for January to March shows the average charity shop lost out on £33,150 due to the forced closures.

There are 11,041 charity shops in the UK.

The membership body had previously estimated that charity shops lost £285m during the first national lockdown between March and June last year.

The CRA said charities had turned to online sales to help plug the funding gap caused by the pandemic. 

It said Shopiago, a company that helps charities sell shop donations online, had reported a 151 per cent rise in items sold through its platform between February and July this year. however, has reported a 151% increase in the number of items sold by charities via its online platform in six months (between February and July 2021) – with the majority of sales taking place via eBay, which allows charities to sell to a wider audience without fees. 

Shopiago, which helps charities, including the British Red Cross, Sue Ryder, Barnardo’s and the British Heart Foundation, to sell shop donations online, said many charities have seen a peak in internet sales this summer, just as restrictions were easing and more people were able to take donations to charity shops following lockdown spring cleaning.

“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.

According to The CRA, shoppers aren’t always aware that they can support charities by shopping online as well as in-store.

“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,” said Jonathan Mail, head of public affairs at the CRA.

“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.”