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Online shoppers provide boost as charity shop sales grow

A woman on a tablet showing a shopping trolley. By justynafaliszek on pixabay

Charity shop sales continued to grow at the end of 2023, boosted by strong online sales, according to the Charity Retail Association’s 2023 Q4 Quarterly Market Analysis report.

61 charities took part in the survey, representing 4,525 shops, with respondents reporting a 19.4% increase in online income compared to the same period in 2022 as customers shopped for the festive season.

75% of charities who took part in the survey said they sold online, while in-store income grew 1.9% year-on-year, which the report says was driven by an average transaction value increase of 5.6%.


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Charity shop performance over this period outpaced commercial retail, with respondents reporting a total income growth of 3.1% between October-December 2022 and October-December 2023, compared to a decline of 1.5% for non-food commercial retail sales in the same period, according to BRC figures.

Looking ahead, almost half (47%) of respondents indicated that they intend to increase their number of shops over the coming six months.

Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association, said:

“Charities really saw the benefit from their investment in growing their online channels at the end of last year, with shops being able to boost their sales, especially in times of low footfall, by providing customers with an accessible alternative to shopping in person. Although the vast majority of charity shop income still comes from in-store sales, it has been important for charities to build their online presence in recent years, and this is something we’re seeing going from strength to strength.


“Shops continue to face challenges such as the cost-of-living crisis, volunteer shortages and the quality of donations, but have proven their resilience and popularity again and again, reflected in their ongoing growth and expansion.”

Donated goods made up 73.6% of all in-store income in October-December 2023, with 63.4% of all income from donated goods in general charity shops coming from clothing and accessories.