Fashionistas go off the rail: eBay reveals 70% of consumers are looking to shop more sustainably

Press Release

2020 stands for sustainability with two pre-loved items purchased on eBay UK every second; a 50% increase on 2019

  • The equivalent weight of 68 double decker buses has been saved from landfill thanks to purchases of second-hand women’s fashion items so far in 2020
  • A quarter of fashion-conscious consumers have up to 8 pre-loved items in their wardrobe
  • 17.8million of people in the UK bought pre-loved items on eBay in the UK in 2019
  • Sunday at 7pm is the most popular time to shop second-hand on eBay UK
  • Holly Willoughby is the most searched for celebrity  second-hand fashion

To celebrate the launch of its brand new Vintage Hub, today eBay has released research which shows that the vast majority (70%) of UK fashionistas want to shop more sustainably. And new sales data* from eBay, shows the nation's desire to get their hands on a vintage gem or two is on the up, as there has been a 15% increase in sales of pre-loved fashion over the past five years, with two used fashion items sold every second in 2020.

Since 2017 there has been a 31% increase in the number of second hand items listed on eBay. Becoming a vintage loving nation, over a quarter (24%) of shoppers now own four to eight second hand items and a fifth (19%) have more than nine pre-loved items in their wardrobes. 

The highest number of purchases for second hand fashion items are made in the months of May and October, ahead of the summer and winter seasons respectively. October saw five sales (of used items) per second, closely followed by May (with just over four used sales per second). And throughout the year, it's ahead of the working week kicking off, on Sunday evenings between 7-9pm when the most second hand sales take place. 

When it comes to keeping up with the trends, Holly Willoughby was tipped as the UK’s favourite fashion icon with the most number of searches for second hand style featuring her name. And many are on the hunt for vintage and luxury brands, with Nike, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton, among the most popular second hand fashion brands. 

Buying a new outfit for every occasion isn’t a necessity for everyone with more than a quarter (27%) of females proudly stating that they would wear the same outfit again, even if they were photographed in it recently. For those who said they would opt for a different outfit, almost half (46%) said that they would wear one which is already in their wardrobe, rather than buy a totally new one. Second hand fashion has become something to shout about with two thirds (66%) of respondents saying that they would be happy to share the source of their thrifty outfit with others, with just 14% admitting they would rather keep their second hand love affair a secret. 


The Vintage Hub

From Levi’s to Laura Ashley, this is your one-stop shop to add a touch of vintage to your wardrobe. You can narrow your search by selecting one decade, or for those who are a little more unsure about which era you should have been born in, you can sample a few different trends of the past to craft your personal look.

Emma Grant, Head of pre-loved at eBay says: “The trend of sustainability is something we’ve seen increase dramatically over the past year, particularly when it comes to fashion. In 2019 alone, the word ‘used’ when looking for clothing items was searched for 160million times and at the moment there are over 27 million pre-loved fashion listing on eBay, a figure we expect will increase year-on-year. eBay, which is turning 25 this year, is launching the Vintage Hub as it continues to champion buyers and sellers who choose to shop responsibly and remains a universal place to shop vintage. From those who are interested in brands such as Jaegar and Laura Ashley, right through to Gen Zs who use eBay to get their hands on pre-loved Nike and Supreme items – eBay vintage really is for everyone”.


When it comes to the location where people shop the most sustainably, Londoners splashed the cash on second-hand, spending over £50m on pre-loved clothing in 2019. A close second is Lancashire, who could certainly teach Manchester and Nottingham a trick or two about sustainable shopping.

Ranking of UK regions for sales of “used”: 

  1. London
  2. Lancashire
  3. Essex
  4. West Midlands
  5. Kent
  6. West Yorkshire
  7. Surrey
  8. Hampshire
  9. Cheshire
  10. South Yorkshire
  11. Hertfordshire
  12. Devon
  13. Merseyside
  14. Greater Manchester
  15. Nottinghamshire

Ruby, from Eat Your Make Up Vintage, a seller on eBay says: “Selling vintage fashion on eBay has now become my primary source of income, and in just four years my annual turnover has amounted to nearly £30K. The majority of my stock is fashion from the 60s and 70s, with the most popular items often being Laura Ashley or Mary Quant dresses. Sustainability is obviously important to my customers, it’s the reason why many shop for pre-loved items, so I’ve also recently changed my packaging to eco-friendly compostable bags, to ensure I'm being as sustainable as I can be too.”

Top 10 High Street Brands & Average Selling Price of pre-loved items:

  1. Next - £5.44
  2. Marks & Spencer - £6.87
  3. New Look - £4.56
  4. H&M - £5.52
  5. Zara - £10.44
  6. River Island - £7.29
  7. Topshop - £7.43
  8. George - £3.88
  9. Primark - £3.68
  10. Nike - £30.06

Top 10 Luxury Brands & Average Selling Price of pre-loved items:

  1. Dolce & Gabbana  - £47.07
  2. Mulberry - £136.25
  3. Vivienne Westwood - £44.15
  4. Prada - £85.43
  5. Louis Vuitton - £285.41
  6. Versace - £56.08
  7. Christian Louboutin - £180.60
  8. Rolex - £1,445.13
  9. Jimmy Choo- £73.74
  10. Dior - £112.74 


- ENDS -


Notes to Editors: 

*eBay sales data (2020)

Data compares overall sales on eBay UK between 2017 and 2020

We have seller stories available as case studies, together with tips from Lauren Bravo and tips from eBay for second-hand shopping

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