The latest findings from a comprehensive survey by OfferUp, the largest mobile marketplace in the U.S. for local buyers and sellers, reveal a significant shift in holiday shopping trends: secondhand gifts are all the rage.
The 2023 OfferUp Recommerce Report: Holiday Special Release, which surveyed 1,500 U.S. adults, indicates a growing acceptance of secondhand holiday gifting. Seventy-five percent of respondents are open to giving secondhand gifts this year, while a notable 82 percent are willing to receive them — an 11 percent increase from 2022.
This shift is part of a broader trend of declining stigma around secondhand shopping. OfferUp’s fifth annual Recommerce Report, published in August 2023, found that 67 percent of shoppers perceive a reduced stigma in giving secondhand gifts, aligning with the 76 percent who feel the overall stigma of secondhand shopping has decreased. Factors contributing to this change include affordability, increased variety of secondhand items, and positive experiences shared by friends and family.
“With millions of new users buying and selling every day, the industry is continuing to experience persistent growth,” Todd Dunlap, OfferUp’s CEO wrote in that report. “What’s more, we’re seeing the rising popularity of resale lead to a notable decline in the stigma once attached to buying pre-owned, whether it’s tied to purchasing items for personal use or gift-giving.”
The survey highlights a diverse range of popular secondhand gifting categories for 2023, with electronics, sporting goods, and home improvement items leading the way, notably excluding apparel.
Economic factors are driving this trend, as financial constraints continue to influence shoppers’ choices. The main motivators for purchasing secondhand gifts include finding good deals, avoiding higher retail prices, and staying within budget. Ninety-four percent of shoppers acknowledge inflation impacting their holiday budgets, with 93 percent citing overall cost of living and 90 percent considering the potential for economic recession as influential factors. Additionally, 54 percent are concerned about the return of mandatory student loan payments.
Forty-six percent of shoppers note higher prices for desired gifts compared to previous years, and 32 percent find it harder to locate holiday bargains. In response, 33 percent of shoppers have sold or plan to sell items on online resale platforms to afford holiday gifts.
The growing reliance on recommerce is not just a seasonal phenomenon. OfferUp’s Recommerce Report found that 85 percent of shoppers have bought or sold secondhand items in the past year, projecting the recommerce market to reach $276 billion by 2028.
The report comes as Amazon says sales of refurbished and pre-owned goods in Europe and the U.K. are on the rise; last year it sold more than 4 million used or refurbished items, generating more than $1.3 billion in sales. YTD sales are up more than 15 percent over last year, John Boumphrey, Amazon’s U.K. Country Manager told reporters earlier this week.
“Customers are telling us that they’re shopping secondhand items to save money in the ongoing cost of living crisis and because they want to shop more sustainably,” Boumphrey said.
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