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Why Consumers Buy and Sell Used Goods on eBay

Why Consumers Buy and Sell Used Goods on eBay

Consumers buy and sell used goods on eBay (“pre-owned” items) primarily for financial reasons, but sustainability is also important, according to eBay’s second annual Recommerce Report.

eBay said 72% of responding sellers believed that buying pre-owned had become more common, and 64% believe that selling secondhand products had become easier in the past year. 48% said they now sell more pre-owned goods than in the last several years.

eBay surveyed nearly 4,500 “consumer-to-consumer” sellers in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Australia in October 2021 and asked them about their buying and selling habits of secondhand goods. (In the US and Canada, C2C sellers include those with less than $10,000 GMV or fewer than 25 transactions in a year. In the UK, Germany and France, it included any seller who identified themself as C2C.

“Our latest results show that it’s not only because selling and buying pre-owned is often more affordable, but because it aligns with consumers’ environmental values during a time when climate change continues to be a major concern,” according to the report, which went on to state:

“Our data indicates that financial reasons, namely to supplement income, remain the primary motivator for most sellers to engage in recommerce. The majority of female respondents, 52%, cited economic reasons for selling pre-owned goods. For Gen Z, that figure is 63%, up significantly from 46% last year. Gen Z is emerging as a major economic force, and they see recommerce as a versatile tool in their purchasing toolbox.

“But having an extra income stream, while welcome, isn’t the only reason for the thriving market in secondhand goods. About 20% of survey respondents named the circular economy — keeping products and materials in use for a longer period of time — as their top reason for purchasing pre-owned goods. That number is even higher in the U.S. (26%) and Canada (31%), where reselling has become a major trend, especially in sneakers, watches and collectibles.

“As environmental concerns become ever more pressing, more sellers and buyers are citing sustainability and reduced waste as reasons for getting into the recommerce market. Approximately 34% of our buyer survey respondents around the world name sustainability as a reason for recommerce, as do 27% of sellers. That’s an increase in many countries — U.S. sellers noting sustainability rose from 16% to 19% over 2021; Canadian sellers from 14% to 16%; and in Germany, from 39% to 40%.

“The most pressing sustainability reason for these buyers and sellers? Keeping perfectly good products out of landfills.”

You can find the full report on this page (PDF) of the eBayInc.com website.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

3 thoughts on “Why Consumers Buy and Sell Used Goods on eBay”

  1. “The most pressing sustainability reason for these buyers and sellers? Keeping perfectly good products out of landfills.”
    Give Me A Break – ROTFLMAO

  2. I’m wondering how valid this report is, since eBay doesn’t seem to have a good handle on specifics within the collectibles categories.

    Are they lumping collectibles in with used consumer goods?

    Make a bit of profit selling used.
    It’s the American way.
    Now to force corporate to lower the take rate back down to a palatable 3%.

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