Since eBay began as a company in 1995, transactions between consumers (known as C2C transactions) have been a vital part of eBay’s business model. In particular, the sale of secondhand goods between parties is something eBay has grown famous for during the internet age. When someone sells a pre-owned good to another person, they engage in a process known as recommerce. To celebrate the impact recommerce has had on eBay, its users, and the planet as a whole, eBay launched its new Recommerce Report. The report’s highlights have been outlined below.
The first main point to come out of the report is the rise in recommerce’s popularity. More than 7 in 10 of the US eBay sellers surveyed say buying pre-owned products has grown more common in recent years. The numbers are even higher among Generation Z, of which 81% report that buying second hand has become more common in 2020. This may be due in part to the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. When people face financial woes, they are less likely to buy items new. Furthermore, the strains coronavirus placed on traditional stores did not affect eBay’s online platform, allowing business on eBay to continue as normal while yard sales and thrift stores may have suffered. Though possible the trend towards recommerce may reverse as the economy heals, there is also the chance that the current trend reduces the long term stigma of buying and using secondhand items. If that is the case, the power of recommerce is here to stay.
The Benefits of Recommerce
For sellers, the recommerce market boasts extremely low barriers to entry. The average American owns 36 household items that are worthy of sale on eBay. If the individual agrees to part with said items, they can earn over $3600 in supplemental income. While most sellers are likely to only engage in recommerce as a side hustle, more dedicated sellers can also search yard and estate sales for hidden treasures. On the side of the buyers, secondhand finds usually cost less than their new counterparts. Thanks to eBay’s auction style format, buyers and sellers can negotiate a mutually beneficial price on each transaction that takes place.
So far, recommerce has been shown to greatly benefit eBay, buyers, and sellers. There is still one more beneficiary worth discussing: planet Earth. As green living enthusiast Hannah Stringer put it, “recommerce is the most effective strategy as a consumer taking on a climate crisis.” In addition to being accessible to consumers with a wide variety of incomes, buying second hand preserves the environment in two important ways. Every item sold second hand is spared from a landfill and every consumer who demands a pre-owned good saves the water, energy, and resources that would have made a new good from being used. In the electronics and apparel markets alone, recommerce on eBay kept 720,000 metric tons of carbon emissions out of the air.