New research by Oxfam has found that over half of 2,000 women polled scaled down their fashion purchasing habits during the lockdown.
The survey of British women aged 18 to 55 revealed more than one in three didn’t buy any clothes in lockdown. This means almost 6 million1 shoppers stopped spending on fashion altogether, choosing instead to explore their existing wardrobes.
Before lockdown, the survey suggests British women bought on average eight new garments a month.
Oxfam published the survey as it continued to reopen its shop network as the country slowly emerges from lockdown. It said it hoped that changes in lockdown shopping habits would help accelerate the trend towards ethical shopping, which was already underway before the pandemic hit.
The survey suggests that fashion habits shifted significantly during lockdown with British women reporting that they typically wore the same outfit for three days in a row.
Over half of respondents (58%) reported they spent less, meaning the national average fell by more than £30 to £71 a month.
When asked why they bought less clothes, the survey found having nowhere to wear them and a decrease in income top the list when it comes to purchases being scaled back.
Oxfam is releasing the snapshot of consumer habits under lockdown as it opens the second wave of shops from today, with 150 more shops due to open across the country this week, all full of second hand and sustainable gems.
But as shoppers flock back to the high street to give the economy a much-needed push, campaigners are encouraging consumers to continue to shop more thoughtfully.
Fee Gilfeather, Oxfam’s Head of Audience and Strategic Planning said:
“Lockdown has been a surprising experience in lots of ways, and it makes sense that most of us haven’t felt the need to buy quite as many new clothes as before. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this marks a shift towards a more sustainable approach to the way the nation consumes fashion, so that we re-wear what we have and recycle what we no longer want, resulting in less waste overall?
“Brits love to shop. It’s one of our favourite past-times. So, we’re excited that this week around 150 Oxfam shops reopen, helping Britain’s high streets spring back into life. Our shops will be busy making sales and accepting donations that raise money for Oxfam’s work helping the world’s most vulnerable communities fight Covid-19. So, let’s shop to help make the world a better, safer place for everyone!”
Strictly Come Dancing pro and sustainable fashion champion Katya Jones said: “Eleven months ago, I set myself a challenge to not buy any new clothes for a year. So, I’ve spent all this time including the lockdown wearing what I already have. In fact, I’ve been wearing my grandmother’s dresses which are 50 years old but were made to last and still look good. And it seems I’m not alone, it’s been lovely to see other people give it a go. There’s real satisfaction in being part of that.”
The survey also reveals it’s not just our shopping habits that have changed. When it comes to getting dressed in the morning, comfort trumps style as two in five opt for pyjamas at least three times a week, with 14% even admitting they stay in their pyjamas every day.
Keeping staff, volunteers, and customers safe from Covid-19 is Oxfam’s priority. So, in addition to masks and gloves for staff, screens at tills, readily available hand sanitiser, frequent cleaning and closed changing rooms in all stores, customers at the Oxfam Superstore in Oxford and Didsbury shop in Manchester will have handwashing stations. These innovative wash stations are used by the charity in refugee camps to protect people from disease. The charity plans to install more handwashing units at stores in the coming months.
To visit the Oxfam Online Shop, please visit: oxfam.org.uk/shop