Brits are now choosing more sustainable ways to shop due to the rising cost of living

Sustainable shopping is here to stay as the rising cost of living impacts the nation’s spending habits.

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

Many in the UK are now choosing more sustainable ways to shop this year


Many in the UK are now choosing more sustainable ways to shop this yearCredit: Alamy

And 85% 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% 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% of shoppers now being more mindful of their discretionary spending.

And 41% choose these options to help manage their overall finances.

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Linda Weston at Barclaycard Payments, which commissioned the research, said: “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.”

The study also found 32% 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%) 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% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

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

A further 39% also said it gives their unwanted items a new lease of life, according to the study by Barclaycard Payments, which processes £1 in every £3 spent on credit and debit cards in the UK.

Harry Wallop, retail expert and commentator, said: “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.

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“As retail prices continue to increase, seeking out alternatives to buying new will gain popularity.

“These transactions could even provide a more fulfilling, social experience than ‘traditional’ shopping, while being kinder on the pocket.”

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