Charity shops selling more online, says Charity Retail Association survey

The favoured method is eBay, according to the Selling Online Survey 2011, which canvassed 75 charities operating 4,000 outlets

Charity shops
Charity shops

Charity shops are becoming more reliant on selling items online, according to new research from the Charity Retail Association.

It surveyed 75 charities, which between them operate more than 4,000 charity shops, for its Selling Online Survey 2011.

According to the survey, 29 per cent of charities trading online said it accounted for 3 per cent or more of their total retail sales, up from 9 per cent in the same survey last year.

Fifty-six per cent of those polled said they sold items online, up from 53 per cent last year.

Most charities said they believed online trading would grow in importance, with 87 per cent expecting sales to increase next year.

The website most commonly used for selling the items, according to the survey, was the auction website eBay, used by 94 per cent of charities trading online. Thirty-one per cent said they sold items on their own websites.

Asked what factors were limiting the success of their online selling, 52 per cent said it was a lack of trained staff. Twenty-eight per cent said that nothing was limiting their success.

Wendy Mitchell, head of policy and public affairs at the CRA, said charities were not competing at the level of commercial retailers in selling goods online.

"But the growth in sales this year shows that they are increasingly adapting to new online markets," she said. "The optimism shown by charities about future growth in internet retailing suggests that more and more sales will be moving online in the years to come."

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