Second-hand gifts in the UK will see a boost this Christmas amid logistic disruptions, says GlobalData

A combination of logistic bottlenecks and a shortage of HGV drivers is set to disrupt toy supplies this Christmas, leading to potential price hikes and limited stock for consumers. After a challenging period—wherein 37% of Brits* reported that their budget has reduced in the last year—many may turn to second-hand toys in their Christmas stockings as a more affordable and sustainable option, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest consumer survey (Q2 2021) reveals that there has been a massive uptick in interest in second-hand or ‘used’ products over the last 12 months, with key present categories, such as toys, beauty products and electrical items, finding favour in the second-hand market among young professionals and students.

Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “There is a clear generational shift toward second-hand or ‘used’ toy purchases this year, with millennials leading the charge; over a third of young Brits* are buying these products more this year, while only 5% of people over 55 reported the same. This is likely due to the narrative behind ‘thrift’ shopping changing. With public figures like Greta Thunberg denouncing fast fashion and mass consumption, we are almost certain to see a surge in demand for second-hand or upcycled products that are less harmful to the environment.

“As with all trends, social media has a massive part to play in engaging with consumers, particularly younger generations. Whether it’s raising the voices of activists such as Thunberg, highlighting DIY options that have been popularised during lockdown or providing peer-to-peer trading sites that vastly increase the accessibility of alternative products to mainstream channels, social platforms help to propel these trends forward among youth culture.”

The supply disruptions, first witnessed in the UK’s grocery sector, are also likely to feed into other fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries. Cosmetics, for instance, which are another popular gifting item during the festive period, often need specialised storage facilities that are temperature controlled and as a result also benefit from short transportation times in order maintain the freshness of products.

Bryan continues: “Beauty products may also run into trouble in the near future. While it’s unlikely that shelves across any category will be entirely empty, consumers may struggle to find a specific product, compelling people to think outside the box for their gift-giving this year. Apps such as Gumtree, Depop, and even Facebook’s Marketplace have greatly helped to accelerate second-hand shopping trends as consumers seek to either shop locally, make a bit of extra cash or even find discontinued brands or items.

“The challenge second-hand suppliers may see this year comes from the nature of Christmas itself. Christmas is a holiday where the children come first, and often children want the shiniest, newest fad or toy on the shelves – which naturally won’t be available in a thrift store yet. That said, as GlobalData’s survey demonstrates, attitudes towards shopping are changing, and young adults, especially those active in the sustainability movement, may look to second-hand toys, cosmetics, electricals or even books, clothes and accessories to treat their friends and loved ones. Rather than perceiving them as old or unclean, the focus these days is on vintage and environmental impact – with one in five Brits** aged 18-34 admitting that they are always influenced by a product’s ‘green’ credentials before purchasing.”

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