Is this the year that second hand gifting became acceptable?

Is this the year that second hand gifting became acceptable?
Getty Images

Traditionally, second-hand gifts held a stigma they didn’t really deserve, but attitudes are starting to shift. Millions of Brits are now normalising the practice of shopping second-hand, with 42 per cent of people saying they would be happy to receive a pre-loved gift this Christmas.

Not only can pre-loved treasures minimise waste, support local communities and charities, they also reduce shipping delays and are at a more attainable and affordable price point. Regardless of whether the gift is ‘new’ on paper, it will still mark a thoughtful new addition to the person receiving it. 

“There are plenty of pre-loved gift ideas and items with beautiful stories that are just waiting for a new chapter,” a spokesperson for second-hand shopping app Vinted said.

“Opting for a pre-loved or second-hand item doesn’t diminish the spirit of gifting; if done right, it actually can be more meaningful.”

A recent study from the app revealed that second-hand fashion and books are particularly booming. Those between 18-35 years old said they were most likely to gift clothing as second-hand gifts – which is no surprise considering the global pre-loved fashion market is worth an estimated $130 billion.

Older groups preferred to gift second-hand books over any other category.

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The world’s largest used book retailer, World of Books, estimates the market is growing by 8-10 per cent each year. Regardless of condition, books are a great introduction to second-hand gifting as you won’t be faced with the awkward dilemma of “it’s already broken”, plus they will always hold a personal, sentimental value if chosen well.

“We take them to the beach and spill coffee on them, but they don’t stop working because of that,” Patrik Oqvist, chief marketing officer, said – and who knows, there might be a little surprise along the way.

Last year, World of Books recalled when an Australian grandmother ordered an annual she loved as a child. When it arrived, she discovered it was her very own original copy, complete with the inscription from her parents. 

Charity shops are a great place to start the hunt for the next best gift. After all, the opportunities are endless. Not only will the profits go to something meaningful, but Oxfam also revealed that it boosts morale, with over half of people (53 per cent) saying they felt happier buying second-hand than brand new.

Lorna Fallon, Retail Director for Oxfam, said: “It’s encouraging to see that Brits are more accepting of buying second-hand than ever before to protect the environment, with the climate emergency in mind,”

“With Christmas just around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity to find a unique gift for friends or family, while striving to protect the planet and raising money to support Oxfam’s vital work fighting poverty around the world.”

So, if you’re looking for any last-minute finds that don’t cost the earth, maybe 2021 is the year to start the second-hand gift revolution. Who knows what you might find.

The Conversation (0)