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eBay study finds sellers and buyers shifting to second hand as they revalue pre-loved goods

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According to eBay’s third annual Recommerce Report out this week, both sellers and buyers are turning to recommerce for its financial benefits. Sellers are making and expanding their livelihoods on our marketplace by selling gently used goods, while buyers are seeking pre-owned items to find what they love at a fraction of the price.

 And for both sellers and buyers, recommerce is a way to reduce their environmental impact. 

The report, which surveyed 11,064 consumer-to-consumer sellers and 7,459 buyers across the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and Japan finds that 90% of buyers said they’ve purchased pre-loved goods on eBay in the past year.

It goes on to show that 93% of sellers said sustainability was either “very” or “somewhat” important to them, while 79% of sellers said selling on eBay has stayed the same or increased over the prior six months due to the economy.

Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, are significantly more likely to turn to recommerce for extra cash,and are more attuned to the value of recommerce as it relates to environmental sustainability.

Recommerce helps to connect people and build communities, create economic opportunity for all — and empowers the enthusiasts among us to pursue their unique interests. It’s also a way to earn extra income, according to 67% of the US sellers surveyed by eBay. 

In fact, 13% of sellers surveyed said they engage in recommerce due to lost household income, while 30% said they saw an increase in their selling over the past six months.

Recommerce remains a powerhouse within eBay’s massive global marketplace. Worldwide, 90% of buyers surveyed reported purchasing pre-owned goods on eBay in the past year. In some countries, that number was even higher; French respondents clocked in at 98%. 

This popularity of recommerce is evident from the seller survey, too; nearly 75% of the items sold by the seller survey respondents were either pre-owned or refurbished. (France was again higher than the average, at 77.5%.) 

The survey, being global, also reveals some habits of individual locales. The UK and France cited “cleaning out closets” as a top reason to sell pre-loved at the highest rates, at 48% and 45%, respectively. Japan, surveyed for the first time, saw the highest increase in their sales due to the economy, as 27% reported that their sales increased a lot, and 32% said their sales increased a little.

On the buyer side, tech and electronics remained the global category leader, with 34% of buyers surveyed reporting that they had purchased gadgetry. In Germany, more than half, or 56%, of buyer respondents said they purchased tech or electronics in the past year. 

Sustainability goes hand in hand with recommerce. By participating in the circular economy, we can ensure that perfectly good products don’t find their way into landfills when they retain plenty of value. 

“Recommerce creates real and lasting benefits for the environment by avoiding carbon emissions and keeping items out of landfills,” eBay’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Renee Morin, says. “We play a central part in the circular economy through the selling and buying of pre-loved items on our marketplace.” Those factors — carbon emissions and lessening impact on landfills — showed up in our seller and buyer surveys, too.

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