• 50% rise in online searches for ‘second-hand clothing’ year-on-year from June 2021 to June 2022 revealed by Google search trend analysis by small business insurance provider Simply Business
  • Within a week of the show starting in June 2022, the searches for ‘sustainable brands’ jumped by 614%
  • Simply Business data also reveals a 23% rise in independent fashion SMEs in past 12 months

Small business insurance provider Simply Business has revealed a surge in the number of people looking to switch to eco-friendly shopping styles, coupled with a growth in small sustainable fashion businesses.

The data comes as popular TV programme Love Island this year ditched its usual fast fashion brand partner to support smaller outlets on eBay. The show has previously partnered with brands including I Saw It First, MissGuided and JD Sports – all known for cheaper fashion options and a high stock turnover.

Love Island 2022 kicked off on Monday 6th June and, within a week, the number of people searching for sustainable fashion terms compared to last year’s period increased dramatically. Searches for ‘circular fashion’ increased by 100%, ‘second-hand clothing’ increased by a half (50%) and searches for ‘vintage fashion’ went up by almost a quarter (22%).

Analysis from Simply Business of over 1,600 policies taken out over the past year also shows that the number of sustainable and vintage fashion small businesses has increased 23% in the past 12 months, as the UK’s small businesses lead the way in providing ethical clothing. Simply Business also spoke with customers who confirmed that they had seen sustainable stock flying off the shelves.

Holly Watkins, owner of One Scoop Store in Stoke Newington, London said: “I’ve been selling second-hand clothing for 25 years, originally via eBay and market stalls.

“There’s definitely been a massive change in attitudes towards second-hand clothing. The demand is huge now, and the sector is set to overtake fast fashion within the next couple of years – I definitely wouldn’t have predicted this when I started selling vintage clothes aged 14!

“Consumers who previously wouldn’t have considered secondhand are now actively shopping this way, I think largely due to the fact that stores like mine make it so easy to do so. Previously you would have to trawl charity shops and markets, now so many businesses are doing the hard work for you.”

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “Love Island is watched by so many across the UK, so I’m delighted to see that they have chosen to partner with a brand that provides a platform to SMEs. There has already had a direct influence on consumer searches – namely a 100% increase in searches for ‘sustainable brands’ within the first week of the show airing. It’s also promising to see in our data that there has been a 23% rise in independent fashion SMEs in the past 12 months.

“Small businesses are vital to the UK economy. They’re the lifeblood of our local communities and collectively contribute trillions of pounds a year in turnover. The uptick in sustainable fashion businesses is demonstrative of the growth and innovation that the UK’s SME community is capable of, and it’s never been more important for us to champion them.”


March 2023 issue

2022 A1 Buyers Guide

Buyers Guide 2022