Cost of living crisis drives second-hand economy, says eBay

In response to the cost-of-living crisis, more UK consumers are turning to second-hand shopping and upcycling in order to make ends meet, according to research from eBay.

eBay Ads commissioned research among 1,000 adults and found that 30 per cent are having to make “more considered purchases” in order to get better value for money, and a fifth (19 per cent) are buying more second-hand items in order to save money.

A quarter (25 per cent) of consumers say they try to upcycle or repair their current belongings before buying anything new, and one-in-five (20 per cent) report they frequently buy second-hand, upcycled or refurbished items.

In January 2022, searches for “upcycled” rose 40 per cent on compared to the month before, said the firm, and searches for “second hand” and “repair kit” rose 24 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively, in the same period.

The increasing importance of sustainability to consumers is also contributing to the rise in second-hand shopping and upcycling.

The research finds that almost a fifth (19 per cent) say shopping as sustainably as possible is “really important” to them.

In addition, more than one-in-five (22 per cent) report they are “conscious” of discarding and sending items to landfill when they could be repaired, recycled or sold on.

And 19 per cent said they try to avoid fast fashion brands or brands they consider to be “unethical”.

Elisabeth Rommel, global general manager at eBay Ads, said: “With upcycling, buying second-hand and more sustainably sourced products all rising on shoppers’ agendas, retailers in turn need to be adapting to these evolving preferences in order to engage their customers and contribute to the circular economy.

“Whether it be offering a repair service, starting a second-hand shop, or making packing and materials more sustainable, retailers must tap into what really matters to consumers today.”

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