Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012, leads the recommerce market -- specifically on eBay -- as consumers look to resell products they no longer use. About 80% of Gen Z consumers who were surveyed bought secondhand, while nearly one in three began selling secondhand goods in the last year.
While Gen Z comprised the largest demographic category of new sellers at 32%, Millennials -- those born between 1981 and 1996 -- follow with 16%.
Recommerce -- the selling of previously owned, new or used products -- encompasses anything from electronics and books to musical instruments.
Overall, approximately 12% of people -- regardless of age -- began selling pre-owned items online during the past year. In some countries, eBay’s study shows a higher number. In Canada, that number jumped to 22%, while in Italy it was 21% and in the U.S. it was 17%.
From October 7 - October 19, 2021, eBay surveyed 4,469 of sellers on its site in U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Australia with regard to their habits of buying and selling secondhand goods.
In the U.S. and Canada, these sellers include those with less than $10,000 gross merchandise value (GMV) or fewer than 25 transactions in one year. In the U.K., Germany and France, this includes anyone who identifies as a consumer-to-consumer seller.
Passions and hobbies are fueling recommerce. The report found that Recommerce was not just a pandemic fad. Increasingly more people are selling and buying pre-owned goods in an effort to boost their income, save money and live sustainably.
Recommerce is a growing trend, as some products become more difficult to find and the price range for a new product is out of reach for some consumers. It aligns with consumers’ environmental values during a time when climate change continues to be a major concern.
For financial reasons, people resell namely to supplement income. This remains the primary motivator for most sellers to participate in recommerce.
The majority of female respondents, at 52%, cited economic reasons for selling pre-owned goods. For Gen Z, that figure is 63% -- up significantly from 46% last year.
Gen Z is emerging as a major economic force, and they see recommerce as a versatile tool in their purchasing toolbox.
Nearly three-quarters of sellers -- at 72% -- who participated in the survey believe buying pre-owned merchandise became more common in 2021. About 64% believe that selling secondhand products has become easier in the past year, with 48% share that they now sell more pre-owned goods than in the last several years.
It's not only preowned cars that are selling for more. Believe it or not, eBay’s data shows pre-loved sneakers are selling for a profit. Tamara Baker, for example, cleans and resells preowned sneakers. Matt West collects and resells vintage shirts, and went on to specialize in collecting vintage wrestling shirts dating from 1999 to 2001.
While apparel and technology seems to be the hottest markets -- each with 42% share -- collectibles are not far behind at 36%. Books follow at 28%, and toys at 28%.
In 2021, collectibles such as trading cards entered the survey for the first time.
In the first half of last year, $2 billion of trading cards were sold on eBay in the U.S. With collectibles, authentication becomes paramount.
About 50% of survey respondents have sold authenticated products on eBay. The company currently authenticates trading cards worth more than $750, along with sneakers, watches and handbags.
There also are ad options such as Promoted Listings that allow the person or company to reduce reliance on legacy third-party ads and drive revenue. The eBay ad team believes this will contribute to advertising revenue -- with estimated growth from $1 billion in 2021 to $2 billion in 2025, according to an eBay spokesperson, citing company numbers.
This year, the Ads team plans to enhance eBay’s Promoted Listings suite with a focus on automation, including suggesting to the seller what items to promote. eBay also will add artificial intelligence (AI) to Relevance and Performance models, and Tools like Broad Keyword Match.
For Express, eBay is using AI to optimize price-performance while adding Reporting and in-product adoption drivers.
For off-site Ads, the company is building new capabilities to give sellers more control of the amount of traffic they can drive to their eBay items.