• Eric Michael

What is the Future of the High Street Charity Shop?

UK charity shops moved online during the pandemic and had a ton of success. Is eCommerce the future for charity shops?

British Heart Foundation, Ofxam, High Street Charity Shops

Traditionally, charity shops have stayed loyal to the high streets, serving thousands of everyday Britons across the UK. However, due to the pandemic, many high street charity shops have shifted focus to online platforms like Shopify to plug the large revenue gap.

But there are many options available for charity shops looking to get online. In fact, we outlined a few options in a previous blog post.

According to Shopiago, the number of charity items sold online increase by 151% from Feb to July of 2021. Based on this data alone one could assume that the high street charity shop is coming to an end, but that is not the case.

Many vintage and charity shops on the high street are seeing a huge surge in foot traffic in recent months.


But we are nearly a decade from the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis smash hit 'Thrift Shop'. What could possibly be driving this surge?

"We have definitely seen a surge... it's more to do with the fact that people are looking for more sustainable ways of dressing" - Lynne Connolloy, My Sight

A study by Green Story found that purchasing a previously-loved handbag reportedly saves up to 267 pounds of carbon emissions compared to buying new.

Now, while you will still see a carbon footprint having an item delivered to your door, the impact of purchasing a pre-loved item in a charity shop or on a vintage site is way better than buying an item new.

So, what is the future of the High Street Charity Shop?


I don't know

There has obviously been a major shift towards e-commerce in recent years, and the industry shows no signs of slowing. However, as long as shopping for pre-loved items is a more sustainable (and cost-effective) option we can expect to see charity shops on the high streets.

Not a very definitive answer, but if I could predict the future I would probably be in a different line of work.

One thing that I can say definitively, is that ...

If you're looking for an online charity shop with vintage clothing, take a look at Crisis and help them on their mission to end homelessness (did I mention that Crisis is partnered with Pledger?)

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