New Detail

The rise of the ’Environmental Entrepreneur’: Recommerce growth is supporting the needs of consumers and small businesses during the cost-of-living crisis


  • 32% of adults in the UK say they are open to participating in Recommerce more frequently if they are able to make or save money from their actions, compared to just a quarter of those across Europe.[1]
  • 40% of adults identified reducing waste, packaging or plastic as the main reason for taking part in the Recommercial economy.[2]
  • Nearly a quarter of small businesses (23%) in the UK already provide Resale options. [3]
  • Visa has launched a digital Recommerce space to help individuals and small businesses explore and learn more about Recommerce activities to enable more sustainable behaviours.
  • This builds on the Strategic Partnership between Visa and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, investigating how global payments infrastructure will evolve to support new circular economy systems.

8 December 2022: New UK and Europe-wide research conducted for Visa reveals that the cost-of-living crisis and impacts of climate change are causing people in the UK to rethink their current purchasing habits and look for more sustainable ways to buy and sell products and services.[4]

Opinium research conducted for Visa found that 90% of individuals surveyed across the UK have already participated in at least one Recommerce activity: a more regenerative way to buy, reuse and share goods and services. However, there is a lack of understanding amongst consumers that many of their behaviours are already working towards a more sustainable future and by adopting these behaviours more often will accelerate changes in this area.

The 6 Rs

Recommerce behaviours which include Resale, Refill, Repair, Rental and Return and Redistribute - defined as sharing, exchanging or selling at lower prices things that one no longer needs or has too much of - are referred to by Visa as the six Rs. Out of the six Rs, Resale is the most well-known and understood of all the behaviours with over 47% of consumers reselling goods at least twice a year. Over one in five (23%) of small businesses in the UK already provide Resale options with 37% planning to do so in the future. Over a quarter (29%) of consumers are motivated to pay for items to be repaired, refurbished or adapted as it will save them money in the long term. Consumers are the most motivated to engage in Repair to extend the life of high-quality products. Refill is used by consumers to cut back on waste, with 20% of those who participate doing so as it fits with their values. Return includes taking or accepting products back at the end of their life cycle, and alongside resale, is one of the most likely activities to be provided by UK businesses.[5]

Consumer Motivations – The rise of the ‘Environmental Entrepreneur’

The latest study from Visa and Opinium shows that recognising the financial opportunities for the business savvy and understanding the potential for cost savings are key to encouraging Recommerce. 32% of adults surveyed said that they would take part in Recommerce activities more frequently if they could find a way to make money from their actions, such as setting up an app to sell used clothing or furniture or receiving cash incentives to redistribute surplus food. Indeed, already over half (53%) of UK adults who participated in Recommerce say they have already saved money through it.

Environmental benefits are also a key driver for consumers. Visa has found that over four in five of adults in the UK have actively taken part in environmentally friendly activities over the past three months, with the vast majority (90%) stating that they felt that using less packaging has an impact on the environment and society. As 40% identified reducing waste, packaging or plastic as the main reason for taking part in the Recommercial economy, it is clear that the combination of environmental concerns, and costs are driving Recommerce uptake.

Working Together

As a global payments network, Visa intends to make it easier, more rewarding, and more accessible for people and businesses to consider Recommerce in their daily choices. Working with Strategic Partners such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an international charity that develops a promotes the circular economy — which is designed to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature — Visa is striving to help accelerate the transition towards a more regenerative circular economy.

Visa has created a new digital Recommerce space to help individuals and businesses learn more, with educational resources on how to adopt the six R’s of Recommerce: Resale, Repair, Rental, Refill, Return and Redistribution. As a next step, Visa is set to develop a behavioural insights lab. Through experimentation and working with clients and partners to uncover findings, the lab aims to uncover actionable ways to implement real-world solutions and empower individuals to adopt more sustainable behaviours in their everyday life. “The new Behavioural Insights Lab will conduct experiments to further this ambition, with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation ensuring its Circular Design Principles are incorporated and that pre-competitive opportunities may be advanced through its network,” says Joe Murphy, Executive Lead, Network, at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Mandy Lamb, Managing Director, UK&I, Visa: “It’s inspiring to see that UK consumers are leading the way in taking up Recommerce behaviours, and their appetite to learn more about sustainable spending. The shift from a linear to a regenerative economy requires big societal change, but by setting expectations high and rethinking our habits with the help of education, we can all achieve this shift to a more sustainable future. Through Visa’s Recommerce behavioural insights lab, we are excited to work with partners to uncover real-world solutions that will empower individuals to make the circular economy a bigger part of everyday life.”

Opportunities for small businesses – Recommerce proven to boost business

As consumer preferences change, so to do the opportunities for businesses. By 2030, it is estimated that the transition to a circular economy in the UK will be a £82 billion economic opportunity[6], with the data indicating this is already being felt by businesses.[7] UK small businesses report that offering Recommerce has correlated to business growth, reporting their revenue has grown on average 17% in the last 2 years, with cost savings around 12%. Most consumers (55%) indicated that they were more likely to buy products or services from businesses that help them to participate in Recommerce activities, shooting up to 63% among 18-34year olds. This is being noticed by businesses, as 37% have said customer demand was the main motivation behind offering a Recommerce model.

However, while the future of sustainable business practices is promising, participating in the Recommercial economy is not yet commonplace. 38% of adults that stated that will do so once activities become easier and more convenient to use, and over half of those who have taken part (51%) said their motivation was around reducing clutter over more sustainability focused priorities.

For more information about Visa’s Recommerce initiative and to join Visa to shape and accelerate the transition to a more circular economy, please visit:

- ENDS -


About the research

Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium with 8,000 European consumers and 2,000 European SMB decision makers, between 19th October 2022 and 25th October 2022. The data was collected using an online survey in the UK, France, Germany and Poland.

Visa commissioned GlobeScan, an independent insights and strategy consultancy to conduct an online survey to understand current SMB and consumer behaviours as well as future appetite for Recommerce. The study surveyed 7,000 consumers and 1,750 micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), using established online research panels across 7 countries: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Sweden, UK. Fieldwork was conducted between a consumer sample of nationally representative of n=1,000 adults aged 18+ per country, with quotas set by age, region, gender, and education. SMBs were defined as: businesses with less than 250 employees, and a turnover of less than €50 million in the last financial year, further divided under micro (>10 employees), small (10-49 employees) and medium (50-249 employees) businesses.

*"Case studies, comparisons, statistics, research and recommendations are provided “AS IS” and intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for operational, marketing, legal, technical, tax, financial or other advice. Visa Inc. neither makes any warranty or representation as to the completeness or accuracy of the information within this document, nor assumes any liability or responsibility that may result from reliance on such information. The Information contained herein is not intended as investment or legal advice, and readers are encouraged to seek the advice of a competent professional where such advice is required."

**"This presentation contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that relate to, among other things, [our future operations, prospects, developments, strategies, business growth and financial outlook]. Forward-looking statements generally are identified by words such as "believes," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "may," "projects," “could," "should," "will," "continue" and other similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact could be forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made, are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond our control and are difficult to predict. We describe risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, any of these forward-looking statements in our filings with the SEC.

About Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at

[1] Opinium research, October 2022

[2] Opinium research, October 2022

[3] GlobeScan research, June 2022

[4] Opinium research, October 2022

[5] GlobeScan research, June 2022

[6] Delivering climate ambition through a more circular economy, 2021

[7] The Circularity Gap Report, Circle Economy, 2021