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Australian Second Hand Economy Hits $34B

Gumtree has released data on the second hand economy in Australia, valuing the market at $34 billion dollars per year.

Martin Herbst, General Manager at Gumtree Australia, explained what the second hand economy is, saying “Any time you sell, swap, buy or donate a used or unwanted item, you’re part of the second hand economy…

“According to this year’s findings, almost 100 million used goods were sold in the last 12 months, with a growing number of people selling second hand for the first time in the last year.”

Gumtree estimates that Australians could make $4,200 per household from unwanted items. 89 per cent of the population has admitted to keeping unwanted items, with a whopping 26 per cent of households admitting they were hoarding more than 40 unwanted items.

Of the unwanted items Australians keep, roughly 65 per cent of households have clothes, shoes and accessories they want to be rid of, where as roughly 47 per cent have electronic goods they no longer want.

Luckily, the items that sell well online match closely with what people are getting rid of. Items of clothing were the most popular sellers at 22 per cent, then homeware and furniture at 20 per cent, with electronic goods following close behind at 18 per cent.

When it comes to getting rid of unwanted items, 72 per cent of Australians donate to charity, 56 per cent sell, 56 per cent will give to family and 50 per cent of people admitted to simply throwing things away.

The data also looked at when individuals would consider selling an item second hand.

Only 56 per cent of Australians sold a second hand item in the last year, of which 1.3 million were selling an item for the first time. Those sellers moved one hundred million items in the last twelve months.

Sellers strongly favour online platforms, with 88 per cent of Australians using the internet to sell, 20 per cent use garage sales and only 9 per cent sold second hand items at physical markets.

Baby Boomers are least likely to get rid of things they no longer want but Gen X and Millennials are more likely to hold on to items that are worth far more.

The average Boomer has 28 items of unwanted goods, but the total value of those items is only $2,730. For Gen Xers, they’re only going to have 27 items, with a value of $4,424 on average. Millennials continue this trend, hoarding only 22 items with a value of $5,040.

Millennials are far more comfortable selling second hand goods and are rewarded by making more money on average than sellers from other age groups.

Further to being good sellers, Millennials also buy the most second hand goods, spending around $2,721 per year, compared with Gen X at $1,937 and Boomers at $2,091. Despite this, Boomers are most likely to self report that they felt as if they’d saved more money per purchase.

Uptake in selling may not be as wide reaching as it could be, but at least 90 per cent of Australians have bought something second hand at some stage – with 62 per cent doing so at least once a year.

While we sell what we’re trying to get rid of, second hand consumers have different priorities.

Selling online is about more than making money with 66 per cent of people reporting they preferred the second hand economy due because they were reducing waste and recycling.

One of the reasons identified for large portions of the population not wanting to engage the second hand economy is the lack of knowledge about the market. The report has some tips from Canna Campbell of SugarMammaTV, Trevor Long and others about how to identify which items will sell and how to approach the market.

If you’ve been wondering how to make money out of the spare items laying around your house, take a look at the report here to find the best way to enter the second hand economy.


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