Second-hand shopping is becoming increasingly popular globally among eco-savvy consumers, with recent reports revealing the resale market is growing at a rate 11x faster than traditional retail and will have an estimated worth of £61 billion by 2030.

As we head into one of the most festive albeit wasteful times of the year, we’ve conducted a study on the UK’s best spots to go hunting for thrifty gifts just ahead of Christmas.

Factoring in the number of vintage and second-hand shops and sales events (per capita) across various cities throughout the UK, our new tool reveals where you should be headed to shop the best selection of ‘pre-loved’ presents.

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Expert Thrifting Tips

Top Places to Shop for Pre-Loved Presents

When considering all factors, Norwich was found to be the best place to shop for second-hand gifts. Norwich, Norfolk features in the top 10 for all factors, and boasts the highest number of vintage shops per capita. Ranking one place behind is Worthing, West Sussex. Shoppers here are spoilt for choice, with the 4th most second-hand shops and second-hand events per capita in the UK. In joint 3rd place are the cities of Worcester and Newcastle upon Tyne. Geordies are keeping themselves busy with vintage kilo sales and jumble sales, and host more second-hand events than anywhere in the UK and Worcester also has a lot of events to attend, with the 3rd most per capita.

Illustration of recycled clothes hanging on a rack

Where to Find the Most Vintage Shops

Know someone who is into trending retro decor, collects iconic vinyls or has a love for vintage labels? Buying someone a unique retro gift is a great way to avoid unnecessary waste and help the planet. Thrifty shoppers should head to Norwich, which has the most vintage shops per capita in the UK. The next best destinations are Carlisle, Cumbria and Brighton in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.

Where to Find the Most Second-Hand Shops

Buying second-hand reduces energy and water usage, and reduces pollution and landfill waste too. Besides that, charity and second-hand shops are a great place to source unexpected gifts: you may stumble across a first-edition book, or a beautiful vase, at an unbelievable price. Treasure hunters should head to Wrexham in Wales, which has the most charity and second-hand shops per capita in the UK. Saint Austell, Cornwall, comes in 2nd place and Carlisle comes in 3rd.

Where to Find the Most Vintage and Second-Hand Events

Make a day of gift-shopping and head to a vintage kilo sale, or a pre-loved table-top sale. Newcastle upon Tyne has the most advertised events to get stuck into. Lincoln, Lincolnshire is close behind, followed by Worcester, Worcestershire, which has the 3rd most listed events to attend and haggle for a bargain. In fact, over the past three years, UK searches for ‘kilo sale’ are up by 167%.

Are UK Consumers Gifting More Consciously?

So now you know where to head for the best pick of pre-loved gifts, but which UK residents are the most interested in shopping for sustainable and secondhand presents, and how have our shopping habits changed over the past three years?

Illustration of recycled gifts

Overall, UK searches for ‘sustainable gifts’ have increased by 988% in the past three years, proving that Brits are becoming more conscientious about their gift-giving. The Brits showing the biggest interest are those from Bath, Edinburgh and Oxford, where search volumes are highest per capita.

At Christmas, we all want to spoil the people we love, but buying gifts doesn’t have to spoil the planet too. At Bower we are all about reusing materials to eliminate waste, so let’s try and extend that spirit to Christmas as well.

Besides shopping from sustainable retailers -- like us! -- we hope that after using this tool you also consider buying a few pre-loved presents this Christmas.