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Study: Secondhand market will reach $276 billion in five years

Resale is rapidly growing in popularity.

The growing number of U.S. consumers buying and selling secondhand goods is driving an increase in the size of the market.

According to the 2023 Recommerce Report from mobile secondhand marketplace OfferUp, 85% of surveyed consumers now buy and/or sell secondhand goods — an increase of 3% from 2022.

In addition, 27% of respondents ventured into the secondhand market for the first time within the last year. In 2023, there was a 27% increase in secondhand sellers compared to the previous year.

As a result, the secondhand market is projected to reach $188.5 billion by the end of 2023 and $276 billion by the end of 2028, representing a 58% growth rate, outpacing the overall retail market by 4.4%. By 2028, secondhand is projected to account for 8% of the total retail market, reflecting a 2% increase compared to 2023.

The surging popularity of secondhand shopping is occurring as 76% of respondents noted a decrease in the stigma associated with secondhand shopping, primarily attributing it to more affordable options (57%), changing attitudes towards waste (55%), and the increasing availability and variety of secondhand items (54%). The survey also revealed that 41% of respondents view buying secondhand as a status symbol.

The top three reasons respondents shop secondhand are to secure a good deal (78%), avoid higher prices due to inflation (58%), and maintain their desired lifestyle within budgetary constraints (34%). Close to half (47%) of respondents anticipate increasing their frequency of buying and/or selling secondhand items if the economy enters a recession.

Other findings

  • Clothing accounts for only 23% of items sold through secondhand retail, with the remaining 77% dominated by categories like electronics, furniture, home goods, home improvement, sporting goods, outdoor equipment, and auto parts.
  • Overall, 69% of surveyed sellers have used the money earned from reselling items to pay for bills or everyday living expenses, while 39% state that reselling has helped them make ends meet.
  • Three in four respondents find shopping on resale platforms just as or more convenient than traditional online shopping, while 47% find them more convenient than shopping through social media platforms. Four in 10 respondents find shopping on resale platforms more convenient than shopping at brick-and-mortar retail stores.
  • The top reasons respondents cited for choosing online resale platforms over retail shopping are lower prices and cost savings (70%), a wider variety of unique items available (47%), and the opportunity to discover unexpected treasures (37%).

[Read more: Study: Sales of secondhand goods will hit $325 billion]

Third-party online market research company Pollfish conducted a June 2023 survey of 1,500 U.S. adults. Additional data sources include internal OfferUp community data and independent secondary research.

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