Second-hand sales have seen a surge in 2020, with eBay revealing the equivalent weight of 900 double-decker buses has been saved from landfill due to people buying from second-hand shops.
There’s been a particular increase in the purchase of preloved items during the pandemic. Maybe it’s because we’ve been stuck at home and wanted a cheap and eco-friendly way to spruce up our interiors.
Head of preloved at eBay, Emma Grant, says: “It seems that lockdown ultimately sped up the transition to a greater sustainability conscious society, as eBay witnessed more preloved listings and sales post-lockdown, compared to before.
“With people’s wallets becoming tighter, an uneasiness about going out shopping, and after some time away from the materialism of day-to-day normality, the nation was more in tune than ever with charities, small businesses and caring for the planet. Choosing to shop second hand is a great opportunity to keep the green recovery front of mind and ensure we all play our part to reduce fast fashion where possible.”
Whether you’re new to second-hand shopping or have been a long-time fan of thrifting, you’ll definitely relate to some of these things.
It requires a bit more work than average shopping …
Shopping has become ludicrously easy these days, particularly if you’re scouring for items online. Second-hand shopping, while still straightforward – particularly on sites like Depop or eBay – requires a little more effort. It can take more time to search for the perfect item, and every so often you’ll be disappointed when you find your dream jacket/cabinet/bowl – but it’s not the right size or colour.
But it’s totally worth the effort
Nothing can beat the feeling when you’ve found the item. You’ve either been hunting for it for years or have just stumbled across it, and now you can’t imagine life without it.
Whether it’s a chest of drawers looking like it was specifically made for your house, or a vintage designer piece you got for a steal, nothing can match the euphoric feeling of unearthing the perfect second-hand item.
The things you buy are individual and unusual
When people come over, you’re often asked where your plates are from, or where you got that funky lightshade. You relish the surprise on their faces when you tell them actually, it was thrifted – and no, unfortunately they can’t go out and buy a copy.
Vintage shopping is a way for you to express your style and personality. Plus, it’s quite nice imagining the exciting life your chair lived before settling in your living room.
It’s great for the environment
Upcycling items and giving them a new lease of life is great for the environment, and this is felt particularly keenly in the world of fashion. As many as two second-hand fashion items were sold every three seconds on eBay between January and July this year, and buying vintage is a much eco-friendlier alternative to buying something new.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, clothing production has more or less doubled in the past 15 years – in part due to the rise of fast fashion. This is having a huge impact on the environment, as the textiles industry uses 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources a year.
You save money
There’s no doubt second-hand shopping is good for your wallet. Prices tend to be cheaper, pretty much across the board, but just take fashion brands: the average price of preloved items from H&M on eBay is $14, and Gucci is just $210 – much less than retail value.
Some of your friends just don’t get it
While many of us have wised up to the benefits of thrifting, not everyone ‘gets it’. There’s always one person in your friendship group who just can’t understand why you’d want to have someone else’s plates or wear an old pair of jeans – but you know full well they’ve been cleaned, are good for the environment, and are now unique to you.
Do you shop second hand? What’s been your best find?
– With PA
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