Resale Revolution: More than half (55%) of Brits have bought second-hand this year
First-hand Embarrassment: 22% feel embarrassed when they don’t purchase second-hand
Impact Inspiration: Gumtree partnered with University of Leeds to create Carbon Calculator to illustrate the environmental benefits of choosing to shop second-hand as part of its #20DaysToBetterWays campaign

As the UK prepares to go back into lockdown and people turn to online shopping, with shoppers set to purchase 343 million new items between now and the end of the year, Gumtree is urging people to consider making the switch to second hand – saving money and the environment. New research from Gumtree has revealed that if Brits switched to buying second hand, that small change could collectively save the nation a staggering £4.3billion, or £81 per person average.

But what’s more, a significant carbon saving could be made. For example, if all Brits planning to buy a new mobile phone chose second hand instead, that small change could save the equivalent of 873 days of heating per person.

These figures come from the work of the University of Leeds who partnered with Gumtree to calculate the carbon footprint of over 1,200 items. Carbon calculations will now appear on site as part of the platform’s #20DaysToBetterWays initiative that encourages people to make more conscious and sustainable choices.

And Brits are proving to already be champions of second-hand. Research of more than 2,000 UK adults found that many Brits are embracing second-hand as their first-choice with 55% having bought something pre-owned this year. A further 60% are also planning to buy second-hand items before the end of 2020, with books (22%), clothes (16%) and homewares (8%) topping second-hand shopping lists.

The main motivation for savvy second-hand shoppers is price (49%) but saving an item from landfill (31%) and helping the environment (30%) are key considerations. In fact, one in five (22%) conscious consumers go as far as to say they now feel embarrassed purchasing something new when they know they could have bought it second-hand.

Gumtree hopes that by sharing tangible examples of carbon footprints it can help support more people to make the switch and realise the benefits of second-hand on our planet and our wallets.

For example, 27% of Brits have purchased a book second-hand already in 2020 – making for a saving of 36.8 thousand tonnes of carbon, the equivalent of 21 flights from London to Sydney and back. Added to which, savvy second-hand book shoppers are saving cash – an average of £21.50 per person, or a minimum of £303m collectively.

TV & Radio Presenter Angela Scanlon, who has partnered with Gumtree for its #20DaysToBetterWays campaign, said: “With the uncertainty that 2020 has brought, many of us are slowing down and spending time at home and locally, reassessing how we shop. It’s made us think about what we buy and what choices we can make to keep more cash in our pockets and help the environment. Gumtree’s research suggests that millions of people across the country have already explored shopping second-hand this year, collectively saving millions in cash and carbon emissions.”

“As the big pre-Christmas sales arrive, it’s easy to be swept away by the bright lights, flashing deal signs and pressure to buy everyone something! Stop, your Dad doesn’t need another polo shirt, BREATHE and take a beat before you buy and consider switching to second-hand instead. The sentiment behind personally sourcing something special, something useful or sentimental is better than anything! And you save a few quid! Plus, Gumtree’s calculations show that opting for something as simple as a pre-loved book can deliver a carbon saving that’s equivalent to heating your home for almost two weeks!”

Professor John Barrett, Chair in Sustainability Research at the University of Leeds said: “Our data suggests that extending the life of products by shopping second-hand is an important approach to reduce our Greenhouse Gas Emissions which is essential to minimise the impacts of climate change. Collectively the benefits in terms of climate change could be substantial.”

For more ideas about affordable, simple, everyday things that could have a big impact on the environment, and to learn more about our #20DaysToBetterWays challenge, visit