Charity shops are seeing a surge in business during the recession as people look for ways to manage their debts and cut costs.
Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Ecclesiastical Insurance found that 13 per cent of people are now in search of second-hand bargains and also that more people are donating goods.
Steve Wood of Ecclesiastical Insurance commented: "The number of new charity shoppers is a reflection of the pressure the recession is putting on people’s spending power.
"We’re simply not hitting the high street like we once were so we’re turning to better value and cheaper alternatives."
One of the most popular items bargain hunters go in search of are books, the study showed, while clothes and household items also featured on the list.
A survey released by Diamond this week found that a quarter of British people are opting to volunteer their services, rather than donating money to charity.
It found that four in ten people had volunteered their time more than once in the last year, while 74 per cent have donated cash to a charity over the last 12 months.