As high street stores struggle and online shopping continues to grow in popularity, many charity stores are taking advantage of this shift and entering the e-commerce market.
eBay generated over $10 billion in revenue in 2021, and many beloved charity stores are looking to capitalise on the popularity of online shopping. One report found charities have seen a massive increase in sales, as many shoppers look to save money wherever possible.
Charity stores will be incredibly useful to shoppers impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, which is likely to continue into 2023. Not only do they offer products at more affordable prices, but the money made from these sales goes toward worthy causes, helping shoppers feel good about their spending.
We analysed sales data and 14,000 positive reviews from 14 charity stores listed on eBay – looking into the number of mentions of delivery, price, item condition, seller communication, item description, and whether the buyer would recommend the store – to discover which one is the most popular.
The British Heart Foundation is the biggest charity store in the UK, and this shows in its eBay sales too. It’s sold over 1.3 million products since it first started selling on the platform in 2006, averaging 6,436 sold items a month.
Analysis of The British Heart Foundation’s reviews showed reviews of the store praise it the most for item description and delivery – both integral parts of the online selling process.
Other high-street charity stores are also incredibly popular on the platform. Barnardo’s has sold nearly 250,000 products since it first began selling on eBay in 2017, with an average of 3,752 products sold each month.
Cancer Research has generated over 333,000 sales since it started its eBay store in 2010, selling an average of 3,700 products each month. Of all the charities analysed, it is the charity most highly praised for the condition of items sold, but buyers most commonly mention delivery as the best thing about buying from Cancer Research.
Sue Ryder and Isabel Hospice are also very popular on eBay, selling an average of 2,100 and 1,200 items respectively each month.
St Rocco’s Hospice, which has sold the fewest products online of the charities analysed, received the most mentions overall for each of the categories analysed combined, and is the best of the stores analysed in terms of delivery. However, it has sold just 12,000 products since it started selling on its eBay store in 2006.
Other charities like British Red Cross and The Air Ambulance Service also received a high number of mentions of the selected keywords in their positive reviews. The Air Ambulance Service receives the most mentions for the description of its items and comes out on top overall in this category. Meanwhile, British Red Cross’ most praised feature is its seller communication and is the most highly recommended charity of all those analysed.
Areas, where the charity stores did not receive many mentions in their positive reviews, were on the sales price of the items and the quality of seller communication.
Of course, charity stores are limited by the items donated. Some charity stores have also noticed a drop in donations due to the cost-of-living crisis. But donating items you no longer need is an effective way of helping local charities at the same time as reducing clutter in the home, so we’d always suggest doing so if you can.
We’ve put together our top tips to help charity stores improve their eBay sales:
Mike Ryan, our Chief Executive, commented:
“It’s heartening to see that charity stores receive such stellar support on online platforms. We know that thousands of positive reviews are key for customers, but it also highlights the importance of accurate product descriptions. Fair pricing and reliable delivery services are key for happy customers too.
“As many face the challenges from the cost-of-living crisis, supporting charity stores online is a great way of cutting costs for consumers, while helping charities in need.”
We identified a list of charities with official eBay stores by those featured in the sidebar and “Featured Charities” section of eBay’s charity hub on 27/9/2022 and collected the total number of items each charity had sold and the date they became a member of eBay for Charity.
We then identified the number of days between each charity’s join date and 12/10/2022 before dividing by 30 to identify the number of months each charity had been active on eBay. To find the average number of items sold per month, we divided the total number of items sold by number of months active.
We used the SpiderPro extension to scrape 1000 positive reviews for each charity and identified the number of times a seed list of keywords appeared for each one. The keywords were split into categories like “Price” and the total number of occurrences for every keyword in a category was recorded to find the overall category score.
Charities with fewer than 1000 positive reviews in the past 12 months were excluded.
|Charity||Price||Delivery||Condition||Communication||Item Description||Recommend Seller?||Total|
|St Rocco's Hospice||18||233||36||18||136||82||523|
|British Red Cross||22||160||46||29||141||101||499|
|The Air Ambulance Service||11||178||16||21||179||80||485|
|British Heart Foundation||10||132||35||18||146||58||399|
|Royal British Legion||14||184||3||15||77||62||355|