Business development · 31 October 2018

UK consumers stockpiling £17.7bn in unwanted goods

Gumtree has revealed that 42% of people in the UK sold unwanted or unused items in the last year

New research by Gumtree has revealed that the UK’s second-hand economy is thriving, thanks in part to the growing environmental consciousness of consumers.

A study from classified ad site Gumtree has revealed that 42% of people in the UK sold unwanted or unused items in the last year, making an average of £378 each.

Gumtree’s global ‘Second-Hand Economy Report’ – which was designed to grasp the extent to which people are selling, swapping, buying or donating used items – found that the average British household currently has 22 unwanted or unused items stockpiled worth a total of £881. This adds up to £17.7bn nationally.

The study also uncovered that people in the UK are increasingly seeking out second-hand products – spending an average of £1,298 on used items in the past year, equating to £57.4bn nationwide.

Books (32%) and cars (31%) were by far the most popular items purchased second-hand, followed by music, DVDs or CDs (18%) and collectibles/antiques (17%). Meanwhile, the most popular items being sold were clothes and accessories, followed by music, DVDs and CDs and electronic goods like phones and PCs.

UK consumers aren’t merely interested in finding bargain items or making a bit of extra cash, they’re also looking to curb their negative impact on the environment. More than two-thirds (67%) of shoppers surveyed said that the most important benefit of buying and selling second-hand items was helping to reduce waste through recycling.

“A lot of things have changed since the world went digital, but our love for buying and selling pre-loved items has remained,” says Richard Laughton, chair of trade body Sharing Economy UK. “We’ve taken our passion for second-hand goods from the car boots to the online marketplaces, and the ease at which we can now transact means it’s a bigger business than ever.”

“New efforts to reduce waste and protect the environment are also adding to market growth, meaning that we cannot underestimate the contribution of our second-hand stashes to the UK economy,” Laughton adds.

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Jennifer is a reporter for Business Advice.

Business development