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12/13/2021

Survey: Online resale goes mainstream, extends to large items

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Furniture customers are getting more interested in resale.

The online resale market is growing rapidly, and beyond traditional clothing and accessories.

According to a recent survey of 400 U.S. consumers from resale commerce startup FloorFound, more than nine in 10 (92%) respondents already have purchased a resale item online in the past. An even higher percentage (95%) would purchase resale items from brands at a discount.

When it comes to oversized goods, 77% of respondents plan to purchase returned or lightly-used furniture in the next year or two. When they do, 89% expect the shopping experience, delivery, and customer support to be on a par with new furniture purchases.

Eight in 10 respondents said they expect brands to deliver more sustainable options, and 81% of respondents said sustainable practices were important or very important for furniture brands. Meanwhile, just 5% said sustainability in general was not an important factor.

In addition, 84% of respondents said sustainability was important or very important for the furniture delivery experience, including eco-friendly packaging and transportation. FloorFound projects that 50% of what furniture brands sell in the next five years will be resale items.

Other interesting findings include:

  • Three-quarters of respondents (75%) said they are willing to keep furniture items they plan to return until a new buyer can be found.
  • Close to nine in 10 (88%) said they would be willing to try a furniture "trade-in" program, which would allow them to return used merchandise in exchange for credit toward new purchases.

A look at resale for the holidays

More than half (52%) of consumers are concerned that popular holiday gifts will be more expensive this year, and one in three believe limited inventory will make it difficult to find gifts, according to the “Thrift for the Holidays Report,” a survey conducted by GlobalData for online resale platform ThredUp. As a result, 49% of respondents said they are considering alternative gifts this holiday season, such as making a resale/secondhand purchase, and 43% plan to adjust their holiday shopping to account for shipping delays this year.

The study also found that Gen Z respondents are especially open to secondhand holiday gifts, with 72% of being open to receiving a secondhand gift, compared to 66% of respondents overall. Sustainability is the number one motivation for Gen Z respondents shopping for secondhand holiday gifts (64%), compared to 54% of respondents overall. Deal-seeking comes in at number two, with 62% of Gen Z respondents open to secondhand gift shopping to save money.

"If you are an e-commerce brand not in the resale business, you are missing a big opportunity to meet a new generation of consumers where they are in terms of a desire to support sustainably minded brands while at the same time finding great deals on items that can ship immediately," said Chris Richter, CEO of FloorFound. "Diving into recommerce requires a whole new infrastructure including localized reversed logistics, processing and inspection capabilities, merchandising and pricing intelligence and a new marketing plan that compliments your core business."