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Online sales of used goods on eBay up 30% during UK lockdown | eBay


Online sales of secondhand goods have boomed during the pandemic as the trend for “pre-loved” fashion and homewares took off while high street stores were closed.

Sales of used goods jumped 30% on trading site eBay between March and June this year leading to an overall 10% rise in the first half of 2020 compared with last year.

Despite the cancellation of events and closure of pubs and clubs which has hit the wider clothing market, secondhand or vintage fashion is the fastest growing and biggest category, with sales on eBay more than 200 times the level of that in 2018 in January to July this year.

Home and garden sales also surged ahead. Sales of secondhand chairs, sofas and TVs shot up by 41%, 30% and 17% respectively on eBay during June and July compared with February and March.

Rival fashion resale site Depop said it has also seen record sales in the UK, US and Australia, signing up 20 new users a minute in July with traffic on its app tripling year on year. Oxfam said that sales at its online shop were up 111% last week compared with the same week last year.

The surge marks a combination of a general switch to online while stores were closed, restrictions on family budgets as jobs have been lost or wages cut during the pandemic, and a growing trend for recycling for ethical reasons.

Emma Grant at eBay said: “It seems that lockdown ultimately sped up the transition to a greater sustainability-conscious society, as eBay witnessed more pre-loved listings and sales post-lockdown, compared to before.”

She said so-called Gen Z shoppers – in their teens and early 20s – were the real trailblazers with sales of their preferred vintage brands such as Champion and Fila, up more than 40%.

Dominic Rose, chief operating officer at Depop, agreed:Over the past six months, we’ve all had more time at home than usual. We’ve really seen Gen Z in particular embrace resale as a way to use this time as creatively and productively as possible whilst earning money in the process and opening up the possibility of building a business from their bedroom on Depop.”

Ebay’s figures reflect a shift to secondhand shopping which has seen department stores Selfridges, John Lewis and Liberty all flirt with resale ideas and the rise of trading sites including Depop, Vestaire Collective, RealReal and Thredup.

Charity shops have also benefited from the trend.

While sales at high street fashion retailers have dived – leading to job losses and store closures at chains including Marks & Spencer, Oasis, Warehouse and Topshop owner Arcadia – the Charity Retail Association said sales at its members’ stores since the lockdown ended varied from 5% up year-on-year to no more than 12% down.

Robin Osterley at the CRA said: “You have got two things going on right now. Many people are very short of money and they want less expensive items, while there’s a serious effort to go down a more ethical road. In the last few years people have started to buy in charity shops because they want to, now a few more are having to.”

He said that shops had found creative ways to handle a big influx of donations since stores reopened last month while younger volunteers were coming forward to help out.

In September, Oxfam is encouraging shoppers to buy secondhand clothes for a month in a campaign backed by I May Destroy You actor and writer Michaela Coel. The campaign will include an auction of vintage pieces via eBay, while Vestiaire Collective is hosting a charity sale of celebrity donated designer pieces on 16 September.



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