Brands

More Than a Third of Resale Shoppers Expect to Increase Purchases of Secondhand Products Over the Next Year

eBay and Facebook Marketplace are still the most popular platforms for resale shopping, though several upstarts are seeing significant usage, per a new Morning Consult survey

Image of products labeled with eBay
eBay and Facebook Marketplace were the most-used sites for both buying and selling secondhand products across demographics, according to new Morning Consult data. (Tom Cooper/Getty Images for eBay)

No matter how you slice it, the resale economy in the United States is booming. 

Reselling platforms and brands are clamoring to capture their stake of the industry’s nearly $180 billion projected market value in 2022, while consumers seek out deals amid ongoing inflationary pressure and express an increasing interest in sustainable shopping

According to new Morning Consult data, close to two-thirds (62%) of consumers have engaged in some sort of purchase-driven resale shopping behavior (either shopping for or buying) in the past 12 months, while more than one-third of those consumers (37%) expect their purchases of secondhand goods to increase over the next year.

Despite the rise of newer, more digitally savvy platforms, much of that resale activity will still take place on eBay and Facebook.

More Than 1 in 3 Secondhand Shoppers Plan to Buy More Items Via Resale in Next Year

Secondhand shoppers* were asked to anticipate how their participation in the following behaviors will change over the next year compared to the previous one:

*Secondhand shoppers are respondents who indicated they have shopped for or bought secondhand items within the past year.
Survey conducted Oct. 25-26, 2022, among a representative sample of 1,379 secondhand shoppers, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.

The booming resale economy

  • The future selling behavior of secondhand shoppers (respondents who indicated they have shopped for or bought secondhand items within the past year) is more unclear relative to buying, with nearly 1 in 5 (19%) reporting they don’t know or have no opinion about how their selling habits will change over the next 12 months. Previous Morning Consult research showed that more U.S. consumers bought a secondhand item over a three-month time period than sold one.
  • Still, only small shares of secondhand shoppers said they will engage in buying (11%), shopping (11%) and selling (12%) less frequently going forward.
  • Books/games (74%), tools (69%), cars (65%), clothes (62%) and furniture/home decor (59%) were the items U.S. adults are most likely to consider purchasing pre-owned.
eBay, Facebook Still Dominate Resale Market Over Newer Platforms

The shares of secondhand shoppers who have used the following platforms:

Survey conducted Oct. 25-26, 2022, among a representative sample of 1,768 respondents who’ve shopped for or bought secondhand products at any point in the past and 1,097 respondents who’ve sold secondhand products at any point in the past, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points and +/-3 percentage points, respectively.

Gen Z, millennial secondhand shoppers fuel resale platform usage

  • eBay Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook Marketplace were the most-used sites for both buying and selling across demographics, by a wide margin. 
  • Gen Z and millennial secondhand shoppers reported using most platforms at a much higher rate than that of all U.S. adults, highlighting younger cohorts’ importance to the future of the resale economy. 
  • Millennials indicated they are significantly more active on sites such as TheRealReal, thredUP and Bonanza than their Gen Z and general population counterparts.

A rising tide lifts all boats

Many first-party brands have taken note of this youthful affinity for resale which is driven, in part, by a desire for community and are getting into the game themselves. Premium brands like Lululemon Inc. and Cuyana Inc. opted to do so via their own platforms, while companies that cater to more cost-conscious consumers, including Target Corp., have formed partnerships alongside existing resellers.

With strong engagement from all relevant parties — consumers, secondhand marketplaces and primary brands — so-called “recommerce” is poised to stay quite popular in the near future. There is clearly room for several existing players to continue to thrive and for the swarm of well-funded upstarts to cut into the legacy players’ dominance.

But, for now, eBay and Facebook still control the market. There are some signs that younger-skewing brands like Poshmark Inc. are making dents in the established order, though even among Gen Z shoppers, eBay and Facebook remain considerably more popular. 

The Oct. 25-26, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,210 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.