I think it’s safe to say that we all love a bit of shopping. The massive rise in buying online during the pandemic only fuelled our desire to get out and support our local retailers even more. The thrill of going into a store, holding something in your hand, and even trying on clothes before you buy, is something we all missed.

What lockdown also did, was show us just how important reusing, recycling, and pre-loving our purchases is.

Unbelievably, as much as £42 million worth of Christmas gifts are unwanted (and sent to landfill) each year. To break the taboo around second-hand gifting this festive season, Bower Collective have released a study looking at the number of vintage stores, second-hand shops and vintage and second-hand events per capita across UK towns and cities to find the top places to find pre-loved presents.

Swansea is the pre-loved gift capital of Wales

Considering all factors, the study found that Swansea is the ‘thrifty-gifting’ capital of Wales. Elsewhere in Wales, Wrexham has the most second-hand shops per capita. The Welsh town has 34 second-hand shops per 10,000 people, the most per capita in the UK. Newport has the 4th most second-hand shops per capita, with 38 to offer.

The data for the four major cities can be seen below:

LocationOverall rank in WalesNo. of vintage stores (rank per capita)No. of second-hand shops (rank per capita)No. of recent second-hand events (rank per capita)

The study also examined the search volumes of each city for sustainable and second-hand shopping terms like ‘sustainable gifts’, ‘charity shops’ and ‘vintage kilo sale’. Per capita, Cardiff searches for relevant terms the most in Wales. However, they also found that searches in Swansea increased by 528% in the past year alone, the biggest one-year growth in Wales, and the UK overall.

Overall across the UK, Norwich, Worthing, Newcastle and Worcester are the best places to buy a pre-loved present. From looking at Google search trends, the study also found that Brits are searching for ‘sustainable gifts’ 988% more than they were three years ago. Searches for vintage ‘kilo sale’ also rose by 167%, and ‘charity shops’ searches went up by 95%.

Norwich, Norfolk featured in the top 10 for all factors, and also ranked top for the most vintage shops per capita, with 28 to choose between. The next best cities to go vintage shopping are Carlisle and Brighton.

The city with the most second-hand events (like vintage kilo sales or table-top sales) is Newcastle-upon-Tyne. For this festive season, residents of the city have over 30 events to get stuck into. The next places hosting the most second-hand events were Lincoln and Worcester.

The study also can reveal the ‘thrifty gift’ winners of each UK nation. Derry in Northern Ireland is the best place to buy pre-loved presents on the Emerald Isle, and considering its smaller size, Derry ranked 4th in the study for the number of vintage shops per capita, with 8 to purchase from. Glasgow is the ‘thrifty-gifting’ capital of Scotland and ranks 5th in the study overall. Glasgow also has the 6th most vintage shops per capita in the UK, with 44 to explore.

The study was also supplemented with research into the UK’s changing search trends for sustainable and second-hand gift giving. The data found that those in Bath, Edinburgh and Oxford are searching the most for second-hand and sustainable gifting search terms per capita.

However, since 2020, Swansea has seen the biggest one year increase in relevant search terms (up by 528%). Milton Keynes (with an increase of 146%) and Woking (with an increase of 134%) were the next cities with the biggest growth of interest in shopping more climate-consciously.

So embrace pre-loved. Support our local retailers, and get into your local store and pick up a bargain. It is after all, more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

To find out more about the BOWER COLLECTIVE and the UK’s Best Thrifty Gifting Spots just go HERE.