Concerns over the environment set to drive Brits to shop second-hand this Christmas, reveals new Oxfam research

Millions of eco-conscious people are set to have a ‘second-hand’ Christmas this year – with 31 per cent planning on buying pre-owned presents to be more environmentally friendly.

A UK wide study of 2,000 adults who celebrate Christmas revealed 62 per cent consider the current climate crisis an important factor when buying pre-owned items.

Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) are changing their purchasing habits this Christmas to avoid waste, with 23 per cent wanting to buy second-hand gifts that might otherwise end up in landfill were they not recycled by a charity shop.

And over half (52 per cent) generally feel ‘happier’ buying second-hand Christmas presents than buying brand new.

When asked about their attitudes towards receiving a second-hand Christmas gift, 42 per cent are more open to it now than in previous years.

The study, commissioned by Oxfam, found second-hand gifting is far more acceptable now – with 31 per cent feeling they’re doing the right thing for the environment and 17 per cent ‘feeling good’ for much longer than when buying something new as a Christmas gift.

Lawrence Lomas, Oxfam’s Trading Area Manager for Wales, said: “It’s encouraging to hear that so many people across the UK including here in Wales are planning to make more sustainable choices this Christmas.

“It’s impossible to ignore the climate crisis facing us all and savvy shoppers across Wales are well aware of the pressure excess waste from throwaway lifestyles is placing on the environment.

“There’s absolutely no reason that Christmas gifts should cost the earth. At Oxfam, you can find all sorts of second hand treasures in our stores: from bestseller books in mint condition to pre-loved designer dresses.

“And of course, by shopping and donating with us, you’ll not only be helping to combat climate change, but the money you help to raise will support people facing poverty around the world. What better gift could you give this year?”

Oxfam has 20 high street shops across Wales, selling books, music, clothes and bric a brac.

Mark Haddon, the author best known for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, bought ‘The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett: Krapp’s Last Tape’ and ‘The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett: End Game’ for his partner.

He said: “She’s not a big indulger so she’s hard to buy presents for at the best of times. This Christmas – post-COP26 especially – we both feel a bit queasy at the prospect of buying yet more unnecessary new stuff – so buying something second-hand is the perfect compromise.”

Looking at their Christmas wish list, 36 per cent would be happy buying pre-owned books as a present for someone as well as DVDs (21 per cent), toys (20 per cent) and jewellery (19 per cent).

The survey revealed that signed copies, rare and collectibles, first editions and fiction are the most popular types of book people would consider buying as a second-hand Christmas gift.

Oxfam is the largest chain of second-hand bookshops in Europe, with thousands of titles available to browse on the Oxfam Online Shop.

When searching for used Christmas gifts, 71 per cent said they would visit a charity shop to find the present they want. And 43 per cent would consider buying a pre-owned Secret Santa gift from the same place.

Meanwhile, more than a third (35 per cent) of adults are likely to buy Christmas presents that are second-hand for their children this year.

When asked why, 58 per cent said the kids wouldn’t mind whether a gift was new or old, and 54 per cent said second-hand clothing is better as children grow out of everything so quickly anyway.

Three in 10 adults are keen to get their kids something pre-owned as a Christmas gift to get them thinking more about the environment.


For more information and interviews, please contact: Rebecca Lozza, Oxfam Media and Communications Adviser, Scotland and Wales: / 07917738450  

Notes to editors