Half of adults now shopping more sustainably, survey shows

A poll of 2,000 adults found 47 per cent are now choosing more sustainable ways to shop compared to last year – giving rise to the ‘recommerce economy’ of recycling, renting, reusing and reselling.

And 85 per cent of those who have chosen to rent items, rather than buying new, have done so at least once in past 12 months.

Of those now using more sustainable shopping methods, 46 per cent are doing so as they recognise the positive environmental and social impact ‘recommerce’ has.

The cost of living is also a contributing factor, with 43 per cent of shoppers now being more mindful of their discretionary spending. And 41 per cent choose these options to help manage their overall finances.

Says Linda Weston at Barclaycard Payments, which commissioned the research:

“Whether renting or buying second-hand, recycling through community groups, or selling pre-loved items on a resale platform – our data shows more sustainable shopping is becoming increasingly popular.

“Shopping this way can be an efficient way to access affordable products and services, which is especially important as the cost of living rises.

“As this ‘recommerce economy’ continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how retailers continue to react and adapt, expanding their offerings to give customers alternative, cost-effective ways to shop.”

Sustainable shopping – the new staple of British life

The study also found 32 per cent of those purchasing through recommerce options said it has given them access to products that would normally be out of their price range.

A quarter (26 per cent) of those who choose more sustainable ways to shop have been able to connect with new communities through reseller sites. While nearly one in 10 (eight per cent) of those who resell rather than return items to retailers have even made friends through these platforms.

When turning to renting over buying, among the most common products hired include jewellery, designer clothes, suits, designer handbags and wedding dresses.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, found on average, the nation scrolls through sustainable retail sites for an average of three hours per week, rising to four-and-a-half hours for 32 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds.

The top reasons for reselling rather than returning include the process being simpler (49 per cent), an alternative if the returns window is missed (45 per cent), and being seen as better for the environment (35 per cent).

Adds Harry Wallop, retail expert and commentator:

“More sustainable shopping methods are becoming a staple of British life.

“It makes perfect sense – if you’re finished with something it is much better to repurpose it, sell it or rent it rather than throwing it away.” 


Chris Price