eBay global Recommerce Report shows 2/3 Brits reselling online

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As the UK approaches the one-year milestone since the start of the first national lockdown, new data from the new eBay global Recommerce Report shows two thirds (67%) of UK sellers said they started selling pre-owned goods last year to earn extra cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the data, the average UK household has on average 31 items lying around the house that could be worth over £800, with people in the past year trying to make the most of this untapped economic opportunity.

The findings from the global Recommerce Report of eBay C2C sellers illustrate attitudes and behaviours towards recommerce – the reselling of pre-owned goods. It reveals that the recommerce market is booming, experiencing both a big surge in supply and demand.
While some people took the opportunity to explore new pursuits during lockdown, selling and buying pre-owned goods has proved to be one of the outlets many turned to – including everything from second-hand fashion to upcycled homeware and refurbished electronics.

Brits are leading the way in the growth of the recommerce market, with 62% saying they sell more pre-owned goods now compared to 1-5 years ago – the highest across all markets surveyed. The report also demonstrates the growing importance of sustainability as a consideration in the buying and selling of second-hand products, with 32% of UK sellers saying the positive environmental impact is in their top two reasons for selling pre-owned items.

With many facing heightened financial pressures in lockdown, 81% of UK C2C sellers said they also bought pre-owned goods themselves, leading other markets including US (80%), Germany (79%) and France (69%), revealing that the trend for purchasing recycled products isn’t only being seen among shoppers, but by sellers alike. This reflects the trend towards a more circular economy, extending the life cycle of pre-loved goods. According to the report, Gen-Z is the generation playing the leading role in this space, with 81% of 16-24 year olds buying pre-owned more regularly in the last year.

“Not only does the growing recommerce market create economic opportunity for sellers and help customers shop more thriftly, but it’s also great to see the circular economy in action as our sellers promote more sustainable shopping habits. Recommerce has always been at the heart of eBay and supporting the transition to a more sustainability-conscious society is hugely important to us, while making sure both buyers and sellers benefit from the economic opportunity that we see it brings.”
– Emma Grant, UK Head of Pre-loved, eBay

“I’ve always had an interest in preloved instruments and as a music student, eBay was my best friend for buying equipment! So, when I was looking for a way to make some extra money, it made sense to start repairing and selling preloved instruments myself. I started by refurbishing a drum set I bought at a car boot sale and then selling it on to a budding drummer on eBay. I quickly noticed there was huge demand, and very few sellers seemingly fulfilling this niche. From there, I took the plunge and turned my hobby into a business, sourcing stock from up and down the country.”
– Jake Harris, Owner, Into Music

Global Recommerce and the environment

By encouraging responsible consumption through the resale of items, eBay and its marketplace community is helping to keep items out of landfill and preserve the world’s finite resources. In the past year alone, eBay globally has conserved an additional 720,000 metric tons of carbon emissions through people selling their pre-owned electronics and apparel through the platform. In total, eBay has avoided 3 million metric tons of carbon emissions since 2016.

Globally, eBay has set a new commitment that by 2025, it will create $3 billion in positive economic impacts and avoid 3 million metric tons of carbon emissions through people selling their pre-owned electronics and apparel on eBay.

This Old Thing

eBay has also partnered with renowned creator and stylist, Bay Garnett, and are also sponsoring the second season of her popular podcast This Old Thing.Launching today with the first episode available to stream across all major platforms every Tuesday.

4 Responses

  1. Private sellers can get 1000 free listings, don’t have to offer any returns and often get lower final value fee offers. All that work for very little reward for ebay.
    No problem with giving new business incentives to start up on ebay but far to many sellers avoiding distance selling regulations on ebay which does very little for buyers confidence.
    Limit free listing to used items and 10 new per month and then pay to list new, nearly new items.
    When talking to new suppliers and they ask where you sell, mention Amazon most are ok with stock being on there, mention ebay and many don’t want to know or allow stock on there due to the amount of fakes, non business sellers and perception ebay has gained over the years.

  2. Why? eBay was meant for private sellers originally. Why should they be pushed off the platform (Gumtree and Facebook are not viable selling platforms for private sellers). Private sellers are unlikely to be denting any business or small business’s bottom line and add to the variety of obscure, collectible and interesting products on eBay.

    Use another platform if you want somewhere with no private sellers, but remember that in those places (eg Amz Mktplace) it’s dog-eat-dog.

  3. Sebastian

    Genuine private sellers aren’t really a problem for business sellers. But people running a business “off the books” on a private seller account are.

    10 free listings isn’t enough for genuine private sellers, but 1000 is way more than they need. Somewhere in between, with increased monitoring by ebay, would be the ideal solution.

  4. @Sebastian don’t have a problem with a genuine private sellers who is getting rid of some items they no longer need. The site is great for things like that. But when you start buying stock to sell to make a profit then you are a business.
    Have a look at this seller and then come back and come back on here and tell us if they are running a business or a private seller and what benefit ebay and a consumer are getting from sellers like this?


    One account with over 1400 listings and another with over 1200 listings. No distance selling information as required by law or buyer remorse returns accepted. Does not give buyers much confidence when buying on ebay


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