Charity shops turn to online sales


UK charities are turning to online charity shop sales to help plug a large funding gap in the wake of the pandemic. According to data from the Charity Retail Association (the industry organisation for charity shops), the average charity shop in the UK lost over £33,000 in income when high streets closed during Lockdown 3.

Shopiago, 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 helps charities, including the British Red Cross, Sue Ryder, Barnardo’s and the British Heart Foundation, to sell shop donations online, and has revealed just how important online sales are becoming for charities – with donations increasingly being made to store and then sold via sites like eBay.

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. According to Shopiago, pet supplies, baby products and sporting memorabilia are amongst the top sellers boosting online sales for Spring/Summer ‘21.

“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 Charity Retail Association, shoppers aren’t always aware that they can support their favourite charities by shopping online as well as in-store. To help promote online charity shopping, the organisation is urging shoppers to use their ‘find an online shop’ tool at

“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.”