The Era of Recommerce

The world is at an inflection point.

In the midst of sweeping macroeconomic, climate, and sociopolitical challenges, we’re taking stock of what matters most. Many of us are reassessing life choices, reexamining career journeys, and reprioritizing what we do with our time.

Whether we’re reengaging with old passions, creating communities bound by shared interests, or recommitting to living our values, we’re reminded of who we are — and finding inspiration for who we want to be. As we’re reconnecting with our pasts and dreams, we’re reimagining the possibilities ahead.

Almost two thirds of consumers surveyed agree: "I'm re-evaluating what's important in my life."

While the news can often seem negative, 88% of consumers feel happy/optimistic about some area in their life, with the top three being hobbies and interests (53%), personal relationships (49%), and their identity, sense of purpose, values (38%).

Recommerce — the buying and selling of pre-loved items — can be a positive path forward, providing inspiration, opportunities, and hope.

This year, we’re excited to provide a broader understanding of the importance of recommerce not only to the eBay community, but to assess the overall trends and sentiment around recommerce at a global level.

Launched on our first-ever Recommerce Day, May 21, our 2024 Recommerce Report uncovers how we evaluate what’s important to us, how we make decisions about our future — and how recommerce shapes who we are.

Woman taking a photo on her iPhone of a man wearing a blue jacket standing in front of packing boxes.

Nearly half of consumers surveyed agree: “Shopping pre-loved is 'in' for 2024.”

It's important that everything I do reflects my commitments to helping create a more sustainable future. Recommerce is so rewarding because I can find things that bring me joy while doing something to help minimize waste on our beautiful planet.

Alicia Silverstone

Actor and sustainability advocate

Headshot of actress and sustainability advocate Alicia Silverstone.

What’s In and Out for 2024

Pre-loved and refurbished makes up 40% of eBay’s gross merchandise volume (GMV).

Reprioritizing pre-loved goods.

A graphic representation showing the five main reasons for buying pre-loved goods, as well as a percentage of eBay customers who say buying pre-loved has become more common in recent years. A detailed description of this chart can be found below.
About this chart: Consumer reasons and Frequency For Buying Pre-loved

A graphic visualization shares that 77% of eBay customers say buying preloved has become more common in recent years. It also displays global consumer response to the five main reasons for buying pre-loved goods as the following: 62% to save money, 26% for sustainability/environmental benefits, 24% because of affordable brands as pre-loved, 18% because of a unique or collectible item, and 25% say because of a specific item they are unable to find new.

Pre-loved is in style

Around the world, there’s a resurgence of interest in recommerce — and eBay has always been here, leading the way.

Three major consumer shifts are driving this change.

Because of Value and Values

Recommerce empowers a whole new way of living. It enables people to save — so they can experience more rather than simply buying more, shop for their passions to make dreams a reality, and reinvest in what matters most.

  • Millennials show the highest frequency of purchasing pre-loved goods, with 9% buying weekly and 24% monthly.
  • Gen Z also demonstrates significant monthly engagement, with 21% shopping for pre-loved items once a month.
  • Almost three in five (59%) global consumers have bought pre-loved goods in the last year
    • Consumers aged 25–34 are most likely to have bought pre-loved goods in the last 12 months (71%).
  • On eBay globally, comparing 2022 to 2023, the number of listings for pre-owned bags and preowned shirts grew by double digits.

Over 70% of consumers surveyed globally plan to spend on recommerce/pre-loved goods this year.

It’s the ability to make meaningful choices.

People say a primary reason they’re buying pre-loved is to save money where they need it the most, so they can spend more elsewhere on what they want and love — whether it’s for hobbies, for family, for themselves, or for their community.

Consumers are interested in the cost savings of pre-loved goods to fuel other areas in which they splurge — 37% of consumers.

Three people outside in the sunshine smiling and dressed in warm-weather clothing.

On eBay globally, the number of sold clothing, shoes, and accessories with “thrifted” in the description increased by over 400% in March 2024 vs. March 2023.

While interest in apparel remains strong, goods for collections and hobbies saw a healthy increase of interest, especially among Gen Z (10%) and Millennials (6%) YoY.

A graphic representation showing the top five purchases for global consumers, as well as percentage of buyers looking for a pre-loved collectible on eBay. A detailed description of this chart can be found below.
About this chart: Types of Pre-Loved Purchases

A graphic visualization starts by stating that 33% of buyers are looking for a collectible when purchasing pre-loved on eBay. Then, it shares that the top five pre-loved purchases for global consumers are the following: clothes (48%), books (34%), shoes (24%), home and garden (23%), and tech/electronics (22%).

The pre-loved fashion market is thriving, driven by savvy Gen Z shoppers seeking out quality pieces at great prices. eBay is focused on pushing the bounds of innovation to elevate the marketplace experience so that buying and selling pre-loved fashion on eBay feels even better than buying new.

Charis Marquez

Vice President of Fashion at eBay

Headshot of Charis Marquez, Vice President of Fashion at eBay

Because of Opportunities

Recommerce helps drive economic opportunity for all.

And interest is growing in the circular economy, with online marketplaces enabling the shift.

The eBay platform continues to be a platform accessible to all, supporting new, and empowering experienced sellers alike, with 22% new sellers over the past year and 23% of sellers on the platform for over 15 years.

A significant portion of sellers 50% reported an increase in selling pre-loved goods compared to 1-5 years ago.And the income potential fuels sellers.

Around the world, a top reason for selling pre-loved goods is to make extra cash — especially in the U.S. (68%), U.K. (53%), Canada (51%), and Australia (50%).

Woman crouching down, taking a picture on her phone of sneakers on top of a stack of sneaker boxes.

79% of global sellers surveyed got their start on eBay by selling pre-loved goods.

eBay continues to be a platform that’s a catalyst for entrepreneurs.

A graphic representation showing the top five global markets where sellers agree that ecommerce activities evolved organically. A detailed description of this chart can be found below.
About this chart: Top Global Markets for Accidental Entrepreneurs

A graphic visualization shares the top five global markets where sellers agree that ecommerce activities evolved organically, making them Accidental Entrepreneurs. Those five countries, each shown with their national flag, are as follows with accompanying percentage: Canada (42%), France (43%), Italy (48%), Japan (57%), and the US (43%).

eBay has been a driving force behind recommerce, and we continue to invest in tools and technology that fuel the circular economy.

Jamie Ianonne

President and CEO

Headshot of Jamie Iannone, President and CEO of eBay.

Because of the Planet

Recommerce protects our world. Even if shopping and selling pre-loved for sustainability isn’t the primary motivator, it remains a key element of participating in recommerce.

People are concerned about the health of the planet overall.

Just over two thirds (67%) of consumers surveyed agree: “I am worried about our planet.”

Almost two thirds 63% of global consumers surveyed say sustainability is important to them when making purchasing decisions.And people believe that recommerce can help.

  • Generation Z and Millennials also lead in considering sustainability in their buying and selling.
    • In purchasing pre-loved goods on eBay, over 30% cite environmental benefits as a key motivator.
    • And 72% and 70% of Gen Z and Millennial respondents, respectively, say that sustainability is important in their decision to sell pre-owned goods on eBay.

Woman packing a shipping box with plants around her.

eBay enables customers to do good as they shop and sell.

A graphic representation of the percentage of consumers who say that shopping pre-loved makes them feel like a better person, as well as some of the reasons why people may want to shop pre-loved. A detailed description of this chart can be found below.
About this chart: Reasons For Buying Pre-Loved

A graphic visualization that states 43% of consumers agree with this statement: “Shopping pre-loved makes me feel like a better person.” There are five small white tiles with phrases within that share potential reasons why people might feel better about shopping pre-loved. The five phrases are: Find unique items of passion, support small businesses, shop local online, build community, and buy sustainably.

94% of Gen Z and 90% of Millennial eBay sellers value the platform's ability to keep items out of landfills.

Recommerce buyers are looking for value, passions, and meaning in their purchases — with the added benefit of sustainability. Together, we’re propelling the Era of Recommerce.

Renée Morin

Chief Sustainability Officer

Headshot of Renee Morin, Chief Sustainability Officer at eBay

We’re investing further in the circular economy with our eBay Refurbished program.

A graphic representation, showing data around refurbished products and how they extend the lives of products. A detailed description of this chart can be found below.
About this chart: Benefits and Growth of Refurbished Products

A graphic visualization that states: Refurbishing extends the lives of products, allowing shoppers to reduce their environmental impact while shopping premium brands at value. Four statements then illustrate this point. The first shares over half (52%) of consumers in the U.K. and almost half (45%) in the U.S. own a refurbished product. The second statement shares that 80% of global consumers know it costs less to buy refurbished. The third statement shares that 68% of global consumers are aware purchasing refurbished allows shoppers to reduce their environmental impact. And the fourth statement is that eBay’s refurbished business maintained double-digit growth YOY.

*The 2023 eBay Refurbished Products Survey was fielded via an online survey from December 6-13, 2023, by Big Village with a sample of 9,051 adults, ages 18+, who reside in the U.S., U.K., or Germany.

Methodology

External: The research was conducted by Censuswide with a sample of 16,052 General Consumers (aged 18+) across the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, and Japan. The survey fieldwork took place between March 6–11, 2024. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

Internal: We surveyed 12,515 of eBay’s consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sellers in the U.S, U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and Japan between March 18–April 9, 2024.

In the U.S. and Canada, sellers included all sellers with less than $10,000 gross merchandise value (GMV) or fewer than 25 transactions in a year. In the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Australia this included any seller who self identifies as C2C. For Japan, accounts self-identified as personal were surveyed.

In addition, this year we surveyed 5,815 buyers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and Japan. This sample was analyzed separately in order to maintain comparability of the seller sample year over year. This included buyers who were active in the 12 months prior to taking the survey.