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UK consumers earning £7bn a year through recommerce, Yodel reports

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Over half (54%) of UK shoppers aged 16+ are reselling items on online marketplaces creating £7bn in revenue a year, according to new research from Yodel.

The survey found that the 29.5 million ‘microsellers’ across the UK are earning an average of £246 a year, with nearly three quarters (74%) having started in the last five years. People in Wales are earning the most, with microsellers making an average of £538 a year, followed by Greater London (£405) and the East Midlands (£242).

With the sharp rise in second-hand selling online, Yodel has seen customer-to-customer volumes surge by more than 200% in the last two years.

Making wallet and planet friendly choices
The most common reason for buying second-hand was saving money (69%), with being more eco-friendly (37%), and buying items no longer being produced (21%), also being key considerations.

Yodel’s Microsellers Guide, which surveyed over 2,000 UK adults, also uncovered attitudes towards buying second-hand, with the quality of items considered the most important factor (56%), with low cost or free shipping (46%), the value of the item (41%), and the rating of the seller (32%) as the other top priorities.

Whilst charity shops remain the most popular way to buy second-hand items (35%), the research found that online marketplaces, such as eBay (30%) and Vinted (27%), are the next most popular destination for UK consumers looking for preloved products.

How to make the most money by selling online
For those looking to sell online, Yodel finds that flexibility and convenience are essential for buyers. Over half (52%) said if a seller doesn’t accept returns, they would not purchase from them and over a third (34%) prefer picking up parcels from local stores because it’s more convenient.

The data also shows how consumers are increasingly expecting retail level quality in packaging and customer service when buying preowned. Some 55% of respondants said they are more likely to rebuy from a seller if it arrives in high quality packaging, whilst 60% are more likely to purchase from a seller again if they follow up with them to check they’ve received their order.

Mike Hancox, CEO of Yodelcommented: “As the affordability and sustainability of our buying choices becomes more front of mind, the preowned market has boomed, and this growth has completely transformed the ecommerce industry.

“At Yodel, we’ve seen the effects of this in the significant and sustained growth in demand for our Yodel Direct delivery services, which has shifted our business portfolio from a strictly business-to-consumer operation to one that also specialises in consumer-to-consumer deliveries. 

“Our Microsellers Guide provides insights gathered from our research and experience working with platforms like eBay and Vinted to give the over 14 million UK consumers who are interested in selling online support with getting started. We’re already seeing some people turn small scale reselling into lucrative businesses and we hope with this guide, more people will be able to explore opportunities to earn additional incomes and live more sustainably.”

Learn more about reselling, recycling and rental trends in the new SustainabilityX 2024 report.

Authored by Emma Herrod, the report – launched during RetailX Event’s Spring Festival – explores how forward-thinking boardrooms are embracing sustainability, shaping positive business models, and earning consumer trust in an era of greenwashing scepticism.

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