Making every pound count: festive ‘Conscious Shopping’ on the rise

Press Release

eBay reveals new research that shows how the UK plans to shop and gift to support social enterprises for Christmas

11 November 2021, London: The nation’s shopping habits have transitioned for good over the past year, as the world was forced to shift online and with more time to reflect, purchase behaviours changed and became more sustainable and conscious. New research from eBay UK reveals that half of Brits (50%) are looking to shop more consciously than ever to support communities, people, and the planet.

To mark Social Enterprise Day on November 11th, eBay has conducted nationwide research(1) to unpick the nation’s habits and attitudes towards buying from social enterprises, as excitement builds for the first post-lockdown Christmas.

Every purchase from a social enterprise has a direct, positive impact on supporting disadvantaged communities. Whether that’s providing job or training opportunities, or tackling social problems like homelessness, exclusion, improving people’s life chances, or supporting environmental action. 

Over 50 social enterprises can be found on the  eBay for Change hub, each with a clear social mission.

eBay has seen searches for “sustainable gifts” increase by 315%(3) in 2020 and “ethical gifts” increase 27% YoY (4). The power of social enterprises is further demonstrated in a recent report from Social Enterprise UK (2), showing 44% of the 100,000 social enterprises in the UK grew their turnover over the last year alone, and the sector currently employs around 2 million people. Social enterprises are also showing that they can achieve scale, with a higher proportion getting larger (4% have over 250 staff, compared to 2% in 2019).

With many reflecting on the last 18 months of lockdown, eBay reveals that 44% of consumers said Covid made them want to support small businesses more, followed by supporting children (31%) and the community (35%) this festive season.

Fuelled by this appetite, eBay aims to spearhead social change, bringing social enterprises and their causes to the forefront for its 29 million shoppers. With gifting season underway, almost 6 in 10 (59%) people said they would be more inclined to purchase from social enterprises to create a positive impact on the world. To ensure they are supporting a social cause, 15% are planning to commit hours to researching the businesses they’re shopping from.

From Stand4 Socks, a sock seller which donates a pair of socks to people experiencing homelessness with every sale, to Seabirds, a swimwear enterprise which supports getting under-represented communities into the water, the eBay for Change hub provides a wealth of thoughtful products that make more considered gifts, to make your money go further this festive season. 

However, doing good isn’t just for Christmas. eBay has identified conscious and sustainable buying is front of mind throughout the year. The research also reveals:

  • Over half (55%) of people are planning to be more sustainable this festive season when gifting
  •  With the environment being the top motivator - as almost 5 in 10 (49%) said they want to shop more consciously this year for the good of our planet
  • 29% plan to donate money to charity and 28% will donate old items to less fortunate families over the festive period 
  • The nation still asks Santa for gifts “they have always wanted” (52%) over a gift that benefits the planet (36%) or supports community (25%)

Chris Gale, Head of Social Impact at eBay says, “We believe that business can be a powerful force for positive change, and with over 29 million shoppers on eBay, we have an important role to play in ensuring that we use our scale to support social enterprises, helping those with social missions for the greater good this year.

We are encouraging the UK to make every pound count as they are Christmas shopping for their family and loved ones by choosing to buy from social enterprises on eBay for Change. We are proud to be working with Social Enterprise UK and the World Fair Trade Organisation, to support these amazing businesses, selling beautiful gifts that will create positive impact and change lives in communities when you purchase from them.

Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK says, “Social enterprises have the potential to transform lives and communities across the UK by doing business differently and fairly, and it’s fantastic that eBay for Change is making it so easy for us all to give presents with purpose this festive season.

So make a difference this year and buy wonderful social enterprise gifts that make your month go further - for both people and the planet.”

Jenny Trott from North Ayrshire in Scotland, founded Mecoco - a social enterprise to offer disabled adults and young people, just like her son, employment opportunities. Mecoco produces plastic-free, vegan friendly, hand-poured home fragrances.

Jenny says, “Social enterprises are at the heart of communities, they give our customers choice, offer diversity and foster creativity. We are so proud to be a part of eBay for Change and to utilise the platform, as every pound spent this Christmas really will go further for people like me and my business, and the work we do for the community”.


The Goodwash Company-  Natural, Vegan Body Wash, £19.50   

Super Sapiens-  Educational Kids Card Game, £12.00                                       

Karakorum Ethical Gifts-  Soapstone face plant pot £18.00



For more information, imagery or information on the sellers and interviews with seller case studies please contact:

Notes to Editor:

  1. Research conducted by OnePoll from a nationally representative sample size of 2,000 UK adults. Survey conducted online 22nd-27th Oct 2021
  2. State of Social Enterprise Report 2021 available here
  3. eBay search data YoY increase 1st Sept - 1st Dec 2019 compared to the same dates in 2020
  4. eBay search data YoY increase 1st Jan 2020 - 01Nov 2020 vs same dates in 2021

About Social Enterprise UK

Social Enterprise UK is the largest network of certified social enterprises in the UK and the leading global authority on social enterprises. Together with our members we are the voice for the sector. We have led public policy for 15 years, helping pass the Social Value Act, and are a strategic partner to government. We exist to increase the profile of the sector through our campaigns and research, and build the markets for our members - working with some of the UK’s biggest companies to support them to bring social enterprises into their supply chains. Our members reflect the diversity of the sector ranging from local grass-roots organisations to multi-million-pound businesses. We see social enterprise as the future of business.