As eco-conscious consumers pull back spending and become more deliberative about what they buy, the recommerce market, buying and selling pre-loved goods, is poised for solid growth. More and more consumers are reusing, recycling, upcycling, and selling previously owned products.
Access to products, the value of goods, and less consumption
Consumers look to resale sites like Thredup, Poshmark, Depop, and Rent The Runway, which provide users access to preowned products at lower prices than new items and reduce consumerism. For example, a consumer may want to own a Gucci handbag but may not want to spend the money on a new one, so buying secondhand is an affordable option. In purchasing that secondhand product, consumers fill a need and contribute to a greener planet.
Participants in eBay’s
The report showed that 93% of buyer and seller respondents stated that sustainability is a very or somewhat important factor in their decision to buy and sell on the website, in addition to pricing. “The number one cited reason for buyers and sellers to participate with eBay is the products are less expensive and provide better pricing,” said Renee Morin, chief sustainability officer of eBay. Of survey respondents, 90% cited reducing waste as an important aspect of sustainability in recommerce.
Conscious consumption driven by younger generations
“The recommerce trend will continue and is more popular with Gen Z, who are climate-driven and value-conscious shoppers. This has become more of a hobby, along with a good thing to do for the pocket and planet,” said Morin. eBay has over 135 million active users, a group large enough to make a sizable environmental impact if acting in concert. In 2022, eBay’s recommerce resulted in 73,000 metric tons of consumer goods being re-used instead of ending up in landfills, along with 1.6 million metric tons of avoided carbon emissions. Even if these goods eventually end up in landfills, extending their useful lifetime is essential for environmental sustainability.
First Insight found that 62% of Gen Zers and Millennials prefer buying from sustainable brands. Some of these younger consumers now shop secondhand markets almost exclusively for apparel and footwear because it gives them access to higher-quality products they might not otherwise be able to afford. Secondhand markets also allow them to minimize their consumption footprint and reinforce their social credentials.
Specialty stores move into the second-hand market
The growth of the previously owned merchandise market is not new. Even before the pandemic hit, used clothing stores were up 5.9% compared to specialty retail which was flat year-over-year in 2019. Many specialty retailers are offering their own version of a resale market, including the likes of Amazon
The growth of resale platforms
In 2021, the recommerce market in the United States was estimated at more than $160 billion, a 15% increase from nearly $140 billion in 2020. That growth is expected to continue, with a forecast to reach $245 billion by 2025. ThredUp suggests that apparel resale alone will be a $64 billion market by 2024. Cowen, the equity research firm, estimates that resale platforms are growing at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 34%.
The future of recommerce
Livestream will be the next growth area for recommerce platforms. “eBay Live will allow buyers and sellers to interact with a live audience, thereby creating a community which will bring trust to the platform,” said Morin. Many people who took to selling pre-owned merchandise during the pandemic stayed with it. “Younger generations will remain dominant players as they get older,” said Morin. The eBay Recommerce report surveyed more than eleven thousand sellers and buyers globally.