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Latest Issue: May/June 17

Online retail boom could bring £4bn annual windfall for UK charities

Charities stand to make millions as retailers battle to attract online shoppers, according to new research for search engine WhaleSlide.‘Give-as-you-shop’ or ‘passive giving’ search engines and websites donate from 0.5 to 15 per cent of the price of online goods to charities, without costing shoppers a penny.With £133billion of online retail sales last year in the UK, even a 0.75 per cent donation from every purchase would add up to £1billion. Retailers signed up to such schemes include many high street giants such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Currys.

Fran Petruzzelli, whose search engine WhaleSlide donates every time a customer shops, said: ‘This may be the easiest way there is for charities to raise money – they simply have to encourage their supporters to shop smarter online. No one has to run a marathon, no one has to draw up an application for funding, it’s simply a case of using the right search engine or website.

 ‘If you get 50 supporters who spend £500-a-month online – that’s easy if you buy your groceries over the internet – then just 1 per cent of that adds up to £3,000 a year.’

According to the 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) retail report, global e-commerce penetration will grow from 10 per cent at the moment to 40 per cent by 2026.That equates to £532billion of online sales in the UK within ten years – so charities could be targeting up to £4billion of donations from ‘passive giving’ options.The WEF report suggests that the continued growth of online shopping will see retailers growing sales predominantly at the expense of competitors, rather than because shoppers are buying more in general.

WhaleSlide co-founder Andy Curran said: ‘As online retailers fight harder to differentiate themselves from one another, features such as “passive giving” will become ever-more important – particularly if large charities are mobilising their supporters to utilise particular outlets.’