Sale of second-hand items on the rise

New research from Royal Mail reveals a ten percentage point rise in the number of second-hand items sold online as consumers increasingly seek to unlock the value of unwanted gifts and items they no longer use.

Saturday, 8th October 2016, 2:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:49 pm
New research from Royal Mail reveals a ten point rise in the number of second-hand items sold online.

Royal Mail’s Marketplace Seller report, which analyses trends among online sellers, found that over half (51%) of those with listings on the main digital marketplaces solely sell these items.

The figures suggest that items which may previously have been given away, recycled or binned may now be making their way to online marketplaces to generate additional income for their owners.

In addition, UK online shoppers seem increasingly keen to bag a bargain, putting aside any stigma associated with buying second hand goods. Around one in five online shoppers surveyed said they had bought a second-hand item in the first quarter of 2016 compared to one in ten in 2015 (Delivery Matters 2016).

The research also shows that the age and geographical location of online shoppers impact on their likelihood to bag a second-hand bargain. The report found that second-hand items appeal more to consumers aged 18 to 24 and 35 to 44 who live in urban areas. Consumers aged 55+ and those living in the suburbs are less tempted by pre-loved goods.

Royal Mail said: “We’ve all been there; we’ve received presents we don’t like, we sometimes forget to return purchases that we no longer want or have a big clear-out and find items with a lot of life still left in them.”

They added: “Royal Mail is making it easy for customers to sell these unwanted items online by providing convenient parcel drop off locations and easy online payment methods which take the hassle out of every sale.”

Royal Mail’s Delivery Matters report can be downloaded from