As the stigma lessens, secondhand shopping surges, new report finds

SEATTLE — The growing acceptance for resale has propelled more shoppers to buy items, including furniture and home furnishings, in the estimated $188.5 billion secondhand market, according to OfferUp’s 2023 Recommerce Report.

In the past year, 85% of shoppers said they bought and/or sold used items, with 27% doing so for the first time. A key reason for the surge, OfferUp’s survey found, was that 76% of consumers say the stigma around secondhand shopping has decreased. In fact, for 41%, buying pre-owned merchandise is a status symbol.

Other reasons for seeking secondhand goods included changing attitudes toward waste (55%) and increased assortment (54%).

The top reasons given for buying used are: securing a good deal, 78%; avoiding higher prices because of inflation, 58%; and wanting to live within budgetary constraints, 34%. Among the 1,500 people surveyed via Pollfish in June for the fifth annual report published in partnership with GlobalData, 47% anticipated increasing the frequency of their buying and/or selling of secondhand items if the economy enters a recession.

But despite what the economy does, recommerce is projected to grow to an estimated $276 billion by 2028, which represents a 55% growth rate. By 2028, recommerce is also projected to account for 8% of total retail sales.

While many people typically think of apparel as a go-to resell item, 77% of resale occurs outside of apparel in categories such as furniture and home goods, electronics, home improvement, sporting goods, outdoor equipment and auto parts.

Respondents said they’ve acquired, on average, 21% of their belongings from the secondhand marketplace in the past 12 months. The top-sellers are basic, everyday items in good condition (69%); name-brand items at a more affordable price (68%); and unique or vintage items (59%).

Along with buying pre-owned items, 27% more recommerce sellers entered the market in 2023. Among them, 39% said reselling helps make ends meet and 69% have used the money to pay bills or for everyday living expenses.

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