- 66% of Brits are aware of the impact of fast fashion on the planet but only 47% understand the negative impact of fast homeware
- 44% of Brits agree that social media trends across channels such as TikTok encourage them to make impulsive and unnecessary purchases
- Cushions (35%), rugs (34%) and pots and pans (33%) are the top household items that Brits are planning to buy new this year
- 53% of Brits don’t realise the impact of these fast homeware purchases have on the environment
- This Earth Day, Gumtree has teamed up with Miquita Oliver to start a Consumption Rebellion – a movement to encourage Brits to think second hand first for the next three months
According to new research out today, last year half of Brits (49%) bought between three and eight new items for their home. This year, Brits are planning to spend on average £1,108 on further new homeware items.
Now, the impact of this ‘fast homewares’ movement has been quantified, with the amount of new items expected to be bought across the nation for the rest of the year resulting in a huge 43.9 billion kilograms of carbon emissions. This is the equivalent of two years worth of hot showers* for every person across the UK or more than five million flights from London to Barcelona*.
However, new stats from circular economy platform Gumtree, released to mark Earth Day (22nd April), show if every person swapped their homeware purchases from new to second hand for the next three months alone, an estimated 10.9 billion kgs of carbon across the nation would be saved – enough carbon for every Brit to enjoy hot showers for six months*.
Soft furnishings fueling carbon consumption
The homeware market in the UK has grown substantially in the last decade, going from 10.8 billion to 13.6 billion pounds by 2019** and there’s no chance of it slowing down. The study looks at Brits’ specific buying habits when it comes to homewares, with Brits typically spending £929 on a new sofa and £558 on a table and chairs.
However, smaller homewares items such as rugs, cushions and lamps where Brits typically spend less are fueling unnecessary carbon consumption. Nearly a third (29%) of Brits regret buying these items, wasting a total of 275 kgs of carbon per person each year alone which is equivalent to heating a home for almost five years.*
Rugs are the homeware item the nation regrets buying most often (33%), followed by cushions (32%), and lamps (28%). Yet Brits looking to buy new homewares don’t seem to be learning their lesson, with 35% planning on buying cushions and 34% on the hunt for a new rug in 2023.
The carbon cost of ‘TikTok made me buy it’ and other social trends
Social media has been shown to play a role too, with the new research highlighting that almost half of Brits (44%) admit trends from platforms such as TikTok and Instagram have encouraged impulsive purchasing decisions for their home.
In fact, one in four (25%) have come to regret at least one of these purchases and 28% agree they waste a lot of money on them. Those who have been influenced by social media to make homeware purchases, bought an average of five items on a whim.
However, if each Brit were to substitute their new homeware purchases encouraged by social media to secondhand items and forego new homewares for timeless pieces, they would reduce their carbon emissions by a staggering 1,071 kgs*. This is more than enough to heat a home for more than 18 years*.
With a third of the UK (34%) openly admitting to not thinking about the impact these purchases have on the planet, Gumtree wants Brits to change their homeware habits for good to protect the environment. With 3,546 rugs available across the UK and close to 4,000 lamps, it’s time for Brits to think second hand, first***.
Shopping second hand – saving pennies and the planet
Only 47% of Brits are aware of the impact fast homewares have on the environment – compared to a much larger figure of 66% who understand the impact fast fashion has.
But switching to secondhand impacts finances too – the average price of pre-loved homewares comes in at £86, compared to £222 for a brand new item – meaning a saving of £136 per person is made just from shopping secondhand as opposed to new.
Welcome to the Consumption Rebellion
In response to the findings, Gumtree has partnered with pre-loved pioneer Miquita Oliver to encourage consumers to get behind buying less and sharing more as part of the company’s Consumption Rebellion movement.
The data demonstrated that it’s Gen Z and Millennials in Greater London who regret the most homeware purchases so Gumtree has launched a guerilla advertising campaign across the Capital to coincide with the Extinction Rebellion march this weekend to illustrate the role shopping second hand can have in fighting climate change.
The campaign will also see the nation asked to pledge their support at Gumtree.com, and join the Spring Second Hand Challenge and shop second hand for the next three months. Whether it’s listing items from a spring clean onto Gumtree or purchasing preloved summer staples from the site – every Brit can do their bit for the planet and spring into action for second hand.
Hannah Rouch, Chief Marketing Office at Gumtree continued: “Overconsumption remains one of our greatest climate challenges. At Gumtree, we’ve been passionate about the circular economy for 23 years and now we’re issuing a rallying cry to the nation to join our Consumption Rebellion and mission and think second hand, first.”
“Whilst many Brits are becoming more aware of fast fashion, our research shows that half of Brits don’t think about the impact new homewares have on the environment. But UK communities can come together and slow down the speed of climate change simply by sharing what they have.”
Miquita Oliver, ambassador for the consumption rebellion movement commented: “I’m passionate about showing people the impact overconsumption and fast fads can have on our planet – and how second hand doesn’t mean second best. Fighting climate change can be daunting, but this Earth Day, everyone can make small steps that will have a big impact on our future.“
“There is so much joy to be found in hunting down a beautiful second hand find and some of my favourite homewares in my home all have a story behind them that a brand-new item just won’t have. So why not join me in taking on the challenge to lean into the circular economy as much as possible and think second hand first for the next three months? We can all do our bit for the planet and choose second hand for Spring.”
Top 10 household items Brits are looking to purchase in 2023:
- Cushions (35%)
- Rugs (34%)
- Pots and pans (33%)
- Candles (30%)
- Lights (29%)
- Lamps (28%)
- Sofas (26%)
- Table and chairs (23%)
- Artwork (21%)
- Vases (16%)
Top five household items Brits are looking to purchase in 2023 that have the most negative impact in terms of carbon emissions per item*:
- Lamps (389 kgs)
- Sofas (285 kgs)
- Cushions (271 kgs)
- Table and chairs (171 kgs)
- Rugs (115 kgs)