The Charity Shop Gift Card – The Perfect Incentive for Gen Z

Generation Z hasn’t really known life without fast fashion but numerous surveys and research has found that most young consumers increasingly care about sustainability.  Our own research conducted by Sophie Williams, a Nottingham University student undertaking an internship with The Charity Shop Gift Card, showed that over 70% of students were actively reducing the items of fast fashion purchased in favour of more sustainable items.  This is supported by research by Vogue Business which found that “the pandemic has made 6 in 10 Gen Z more conscious about the fashion items they buy.”  Unidays, a leading student website, also found that 39% would buy pre-loved because it is more sustainable.

So with Gen Z increasingly looking to be sustainable, businesses and marketers have had to adapt and it’s been incredible to see the most recent series of Love Island sponsored by eBay – a marketplace that invested incredibly to promote preloved clothes and now has appointed its first preloved ambassador to tap into the shifting perceptions and demand for secondhand clothing.

The investment by eBay seems to paying dividends with Natalie Salmon reporting in Hello magazine “that eBay has seen a 700% increase in searches for ‘preloved fashion’, google searches for ‘preloved’ went up by 660% on the previous month and there were an incredible 935% more mentions of ‘pre-loved fashion’ across online platforms than the same time last year.”

But what does this mean for businesses wanting to reward or incentivise Gen Z, one of the biggest users of gift cards?  Well, there will always be a demand for the wide range of gift cards our industry provides and self-gifting for digital content remains buoyant but what about appealing to the growing number of Gen Z that want to live sustainably?

The Charity Shop Gift Card has been developed to provide a truly sustainable gifting option to consumers, to corporates looking for a CSR option and to councils, support agencies and charities that provide financial support to those in need.  It appeals to students with 89% of respondents in our survey believing that there should be a sustainable gift card option when being offered a reward or incentive.

Feedback from our focus group included “Think it’s a great idea! Money towards a great cause whilst getting a fun day to the charity shop out of it”, “I absolutely love this! I had always joked with my family that a charity shop gift card would be my ideal gift card for birthdays, and here you are! Fantastic!”

For those unaware, The Charity Shop Gift Card is a multi-retail gift card that can be redeemed at a growing number of charity shops across the UK.  It launched last year and is the first time that charity retailers have been brought together in one gift card scheme in a move that often leaves people saying, ‘why hasn’t this been done before?’  The Charity Shop is a truly sustainable gift card, that not only helps promote the circular economy but raises critical funds for a wide range of charities that will touch everyone’s life at some point, whether it’s a hospice that cares for a dying relative with dignity or helping to fund the fight against diseases that can impact so many people’s lives.

The Charity Shop Gift Card provides meaningful access to the £7bn UK gift card market for charities, a previously excluded sector and with over six hundred shops already involved in the network with expectations that this will increase to over 2,000 by the end of the year, this is a strong offer for anyone in the incentive and rewards industry. The redemption network includes Marie Curie, Sense, Shelter, Crisis, YMCA, The Children’s Society and a number of regional charities.

The Charity Shop Gift Card programme is managed by Gift Card CIC, a social enterprise that works in partnership with the Charity Retail Association, is a member of Social Enterprise UK and the first winner of The Gift Club As Good As Gold competition.

Cards are available as physical board cards or e-vouchers and available via a growing number of aggregators.

More information is available on our website or by emailing