One in 10 Brits have started to shop second-hand in the last three months as a result of the cost-of-living crisis

By Richard Jenkins
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 10:53 am

As the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, new research shows the steps Brits are taking to combat rising costs, with the nation now turning to second-hand sales, community lending and freebie sourcing as they grapple with increasing living costs.  

57% of Brits admit to rethinking the way they shop to combat rising costs, with over half now spending more time looking for bargains and deals compared to pre-crisis.  

The research, from circular economy platform, Gumtree, found that one in 10 have bought pre-owned for the first time in the last three months and 44% say they’re willing to purchase more second-hand items than they would have a year ago. For a third (31%) this includes big ticket items such as sofas and cooking equipment.  

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 And as demand increases for pre-loved, freebie fever also ensues, with 40% of people sourcing more items for free compared to this time last year. Top search increases include single beds (+110%), sofas (+52%), wardrobes (+39%) and even interior design furnishings such as flooring (+37%) being of particular interest.  

Communities coming together

Community is playing a pivotal role in helping people cope with soaring bills and prices. More than one in 10 (14%) have engaged with their local neighbourhood in order to offer help, with the most popular ways including donating unused items to charity (52%), giving items away for free (41%) and making charitable donations to local organisations (35%).  

13% have even started using local community groups as a source for acquiring or donating items - three in 10 of which had never done so previously.    

But despite a new found sense of community spirit, 42% still feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help managing the cost of living crisis. This hesitance to seek support is concerning, with 44% worrying about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on their mental wellbeing, and 38% having to dip into their savings in order to get by.  

Hannah Rouch, Chief Customer Officer at Gumtree, comments: “It’s difficult to understate the sheer financial pressure households across the country are facing at present and the psychological impact this is having on people.    

It’s therefore important that we remind people of the rich sharing economy which exists in the UK and how no one should ever feel any embarrassment in tapping into it or asking for help from family, friends and local community. Unlike any other marketplace, Gumtree offers not just functional items at affordable prices, but a platform that advertises free, local items at a time the nation needs support most.”  

Sourcing second incomes

With two thirds (66%) of adults feeling that they have less disposable income compared to a year ago and over half (55%) planning to divert what they do have towards essentials, Brits are increasingly taking on second jobs to lessen the strain of rising costs.  

In the period between January – March of this year, nearly a fifth (17%) of people have looked at acquiring a second source of income, with a further 24% considering doing so. Almost eight in 10 (78%) are seeking out this part time employment via second-hand sites such as Gumtree.