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Ebay Recommerce Report Finds that Buying Used is Becoming a Lifestyle Choice

Ebay user snaps a jacket for resale
Image courtesy Ebay

Ebay, the OG of online resale, has released its fourth annual Recommerce Report highlighting what many of us already know anecdotally — that the sale of secondhand goods is growing across categories and channels, especially as economic conditions continue to push consumers to seek out value pricing.

In fact, saving money was the number one reason consumers indicated for purchasing “pre-loved” goods, with 62% ranking it as their top driver, followed by:

  • Sustainability/environmental benefits (26%);
  • Unable to find a specific item new (25%);
  • Ability to find affordable brands as pre-loved (24%); and
  • Looking for unique or collectible item (18%).

70% of Consumers Plan to Shop Secondhand This Year

For this year’s Recommerce Report, Ebay widened its view to look beyond its own platform and try to quantify broader consumer sentiment and behavior around resale. The report includes insights from 28,000 global consumers, Ebay sellers and buyers.

The findings reiterate a trend that has been brewing for several years — a convergence of value-seeking behavior and conscious consumerism. A large majority, 70%, of consumers surveyed said they plan to buy recommerce or pre-loved items this year, and 60% of Ebay shoppers said that buying pre-loved has “become more important to me.” Additionally, 43% agreed that “shopping pre-loved makes me feel like a better person.”

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Younger generations in particular are driving this shift, with 24% of millennials indicating that they buy pre-loved items at least once a month and 21% of Gen Z purchasing pre-loved monthly. However, almost three in five (59%) global consumers across all age groups have bought pre-loved goods in the last year, so this isn’t purely a generational fad.

The top categories in resale globally include:

  1. Clothes (48%);
  2. Books (34%);
  3. Shoes (24%);
  4. Home and Garden (23%); and
  5. Tech and Electronics (22%).

Recommerce as a Vehicle for Self-Realization

Perhaps most interesting was the finding that “consumers view buying pre-loved goods as a lifestyle choice allowing them to experience more, pursue passions and invest in what truly matters.” Almost two-thirds of consumers surveyed agreed with the statement: “I’m reevaluating what’s important in my life,” and the report also highlighted a notable shift toward what it calls “YOLO [you only live once] spending” — prioritizing meaningful experiences and connections like family and friends. In fact, 50% of Gen Z buyers on Ebay said they buy pre-loved to be able to splurge in other areas.

“In the midst of sweeping macroeconomic, climate and sociopolitical challenges, we’re taking stock of what matters most,” reads the report’s intro. “Many of us are reassessing life choices, reexamining career journeys and reprioritizing what we do with our time. Whether we’re reengaging with old passions, creating communities bound by shared interests or recommitting to living our values, we’re reminded of who we are — and finding inspiration for who we want to be. As we’re reconnecting with our pasts and dreams, we’re reimagining the possibilities ahead. Recommerce can be a positive path forward, providing inspiration, opportunities and hope.”

To celebrate and promote the launch of the report Ebay hosted a Recommerce Day on its site May 21, something it hopes to make an annual platform-agnostic event.

Featured Event

Join the retail community as we come together for three days of strategic sessions, meaningful off-site networking events and interactive learning experiences.

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