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May 30, 2022
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eBay UK research shows secondhand surging as inflation bites

Published
May 30, 2022

The rising cost of living and climate consciousness are driving changes in UK shopping behaviours, “creating new opportunities for retailers in the circular economy”, according to a report by eBay Ads.


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As prices rise across multiple consumer staples, more UK consumers are turning to secondhand shopping and upcycling in order to make ends meet – as well as minimise their environmental impact, it says.
 
The report finds 30% of consumers are having to make more considered purchases in order to get better value for money, and 19% are buying more secondhand items in order to save cash. 

Overall, some 25% of UK consumers were buying secondhand fashion in 2021, the report notes.
 
“As consumers increasingly look to get thrifty and responsible with their shopping habits, retailers should be mindful of the evolving demands of customers and showcase their understanding of shopping priorities”, it claims.
 
The research, which surveyed 1,000 UK respondents, found that consumers’ interest in buying secondhand is part of a wider growth of the circular economy. Some 25% of consumers say they try to upcycle or repair their current belongings before buying anything new, and 20% report they frequently buy secondhand, upcycled or refurbished items.
 
This is supported by insights from eBay Ads UK, which finds that interest in secondhand items was rising fast at the beginning of this year. In January, searches for ‘upcycled’ rose 40% on eBay compared to the month before, and searches for ‘secondhand’ and ‘repair kit’ rose 24% and 21% respectively in the same timeframe.
 
And this trend has been rising consistently year-on-year, it says. For example, searches for ‘pre-owned’ were up 19% in January 2021 compared to January 2020 and increased a further 38% in January 2022.

The research also finds 19% of those surveyed say shopping as sustainably as possible is really important to them. The same number try to avoid fast fashion brands or brands that they consider to be unethical, while 22% are conscious of discarding and sending items to landfill when they could be repaired, recycled or sold on.
 
Meanwhile, the report also shows shoppers are actively searching for more environmentally-friendly products on the eBay platform- for example searches for the term ‘biodegradable’ rose 59% in January 2022 compared to the previous month.

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