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10/13/2022

Secondary market goods help holiday shoppers beat inflation

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The secondary market is growing.

As consumers continue to face consistently high inflation, discretionary spending will be far less this holiday season than in years past.

There are tricks, however, to maximize each dollar spent. First and most importantly, starting early and shopping smart on the secondary market may be the key to tackling this holiday season.

Beginning in early October, it’s not uncommon to see holiday deals emerge from major retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon, and others. Amazon even held a second Prime Day, the first in the e-commerce giant's history.

Early deal hunters may not see drastic discounts leading up to Black Friday with the cost of most goods going up more and more. However, bargain hunters will be able to spread costs across more paydays if they start buying sooner while retailers continue to adjust for ongoing supply chain disruptions.

Here’s where the secondary market comes in: Providing access to below-retail-cost goods. Apparel, consumer electronics, health and beauty, furniture, and other products are being sold at steep discounts by resellers. 

Why there is increased demand and reduced stigma for secondhand goods, and how the secondary market is keeping up
Shoppers can make their budgets last this holiday season by shopping secondhand. More and more consumers are hopping on board - 244 million consumers, in fact, say they have or are open to shopping for secondhand products, according to ThredUp data. 

Luxury brands have a stake in the pre-owned game, too, with the likes of Burberry and Alexander McQueen offering resale opportunities for shoppers. With the ability to shop for luxury items at lower prices, the idea of secondhand or ‘preloved’ goods is becoming less stigmatized and actually, a more economical move.

Not only is the stigma of secondhand a thing of the past, but it’s becoming more forward-thinking too, especially by Gen Z and Millennials, with research indicating 62% are looking for a secondhand item before purchasing new.

It’s becoming incredibly accessible to shop secondhand thanks to emerging technology and more online marketplaces. According to ThredUp, the global secondhand apparel market is set to grow three times faster than the global apparel market overall.

Where competitive marketplaces drive the resale value for particular items up, these can be just as in-demand as they are on primary shelves - especially if they are sold out or on backorder this holiday season.

Nowadays, accessing the secondary market is just a matter of picking up a smartphone or opening a laptop. From eBay and Poshmark to Mercari and Facebook Marketplace—there is a platform for any shopper across every product category.

Whether consumers would rather bid for items or have ‘Buy it Now’ options, there are plenty of chances to save thanks to the burgeoning pool of resellers. Consumers can also find resellers selling niche items such as limited-edition sneakers, designer handbags, or authenticated pieces on specific marketplaces like StockX, Rebag, and The Real Real.

Why shoppers are likely to find items on the secondary market at a lower price
In a recent survey, nearly three out of four sellers of secondhand items said they also purchase them. These individuals are known as “circulars,” and purchase used items like clothing and accessories with the intention of reselling them on the secondary market.

In-store discounts and online promotions pave the way for resellers to acquire in-demand merchandise to resell closer to retail price tags—a practice known as retail arbitrage. This is the basic principle that online resellers follow and how in-demand items make their way to the secondary market.

Not to be forgotten are in-store and dotcom returns. Items sold on primary shelves just a few weeks ago can be returned by a shopper at any point. This means fairly new returns that are often unused or unopened can be sold on the secondary market as well. With the common practice of liquidating, retailers sell warehouse inventory, along with customer returns, excess stock, and damaged goods, in bulk to qualified buyers.

It’s these resellers who later introduce discounted goods into the secondary market, catching the eyes of budget shoppers and those simply trying to save a buck or two this holiday season.

As we enter into the holiday shopping season, many are worrying about the impact inflation will have on their budgets. With lingering effects of supply chain and stocking issues throughout the retail industry, shoppers relying on sale prices to make up that shortfall will likely be disappointed.

By looking to the secondary market, which has grown rapidly in recent years, consumers will be able to find deals - and even products - that will not be available in stores.

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