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Half of All Americans Shopped Resale During the Pandemic

With work and school at home, the shift from retail to resale accelerated as Americans increased their spending on home decor by $27 billion

- Resale marketplaces were the fastest-growing retail channel for home products and have become go-to destinations for hard-to-find items like desks, exercise equipment and electronics

- 35% of Americans purchased home products in 2020 on resale apps, saving $400 on average compared to traditional retail costs

- Home products were the fastest-growing category across resale in 2020, while clothing resale decreased by 13%

OfferUp, the largest mobile marketplace in the U.S. for local buyers and sellers, released its 2021 Recommerce Report: Furniture and Home Goods. The research report, published in partnership with data analytics firm GlobalData, highlights the exponential growth of the furniture and home goods recommerce market and reveals new insights into how the pandemic has affected Americans' investments in their home decor. OfferUp also released the results of a nationwide consumer survey and analyzed buyer/seller metrics from its more than 56 million buyers and sellers in 2020, to provide additional detail into America's most current resale trends across apparel, autos, electronics, home improvement and sports and outdoors products.

Hundreds of Millions of Americans Bought Something on a Resale Marketplace in 2020
According to the research, 48% of Americans bought an item through resale last year, and while the resale market saw growth overall, interest decreased in previously popular categories. 2020 was the worst year on record for the apparel resale market, with spending decreasing by 13% as interest in workwear and fashion declined.

In 2020 the shift from retail to resale accelerated as Americans increased their spending on home decor by $27 billionTweet this

Pandemic-related retail store closures and supply constraints led cost-conscious Americans to rely on resale marketplaces as go-to shopping apps. Most categories linked to the household saw tremendous growth as Americans spent more time in their homes, resulting in a mini-boom in home-related spending. Autos, electronics and sports and outdoors categories also saw a considerable increase in spending.

"The resale market is an incredible barometer for identifying consumer demand. In 2020, one in five adults in America shopped on OfferUp. As our homes became the place for work, school and exercise, we saw demand increase exponentially for the items that make these things possible," said Nick Huzar, CEO and co-founder of OfferUp. "2020 accelerated the shift from retail to resale that we've seen coming for a long time. Americans have discovered that resale frequently is less expensive and better for the environment than traditional retail."

2020 Was a Record-Setting Year for Furniture & Home Goods, Especially for Resale
Americans new "at-home" lifestyles increased the importance of investing in home decor and comfort. OfferUp research found that most Americans (58%) redecorated their homes with items to make them more comfortable and functional. With professionals working from home and students shifting to remote learning, families purchased office items like screens and desk chairs out of necessity. Furniture focused on relaxation – beds, mattresses, sofas, and decorative items like rugs, lamps and pillows – were also popular purchases.

As a result of the increased interest in redecorating, furniture and home goods recommerce grew by 17% in just one year. These gains are projected to continue to become a $23.6 billion market by 2025, making recommerce the fastest-growing channel for home-related items. In addition, it's estimated that two-thirds of American homes have home goods and furniture acquired through resale.

OfferUp's consumer study also found that 11% of Americans moved because of the pandemic, with more than 31% making the transition from the city to the suburbs in 2020. Four out of 10 said they chose to upsize their homes in their quest for more space, resulting in many having to buy new furniture.

According to OfferUp's research:

  • A majority of Americans indicated they are interested in buying (57%) and selling (55%) home goods on resale marketplaces. 93% say they will shop resale the same or more frequently in the future.
  • The two rooms most closely associated with relaxing – the bedroom (36%) and living room (35%) were the most redecorated.
  • The home market's fastest-growing category was homewares which expanded by 10%. This is 2.8 times the average annual growth rate for the past five years. Kitchenware did exceptionally well as more people cooked meals from home and many experimented with baking.

These trends have resulted in dramatic financial shifts:

  • Spending on home decor increased by $27.2 billion compared to 2019 – the equivalent of everyone in the U.S. spending $82 more on home products.
  • A third of Americans (32%) have used, or plan to use, money from stimulus checks to finance home redecoration. 23% plan to use refunds from their 2021 tax return.
  • The average American made $368 selling furniture and home goods on resale marketplaces last year, and almost a third of sellers made more than $400.

Americans Scoured Resale Marketplaces for"Pandemic Necessities" Including Office and Fitness Equipment and Electronics
Increased time in the home led to a spike in demand for office and fitness equipment and electronics. According to OfferUp's analysis, office chairs (74%) and desks (62%) were the top two work from home purchases made by Americans. Similarly, with many gyms closed in 2020, there was a boost in demand for exercise equipment that allowed people to maintain their fitness and wellness routines at home. Shortages of these items in stores and online with traditional retailers led many Americans to turn to resale marketplaces to find in-demand products.

In 2020 on OfferUp:

  • Desks were the second most searched item on the marketplace for four months straight from July to October.
  • OfferUp saw a triple-digit increase in searches for kids' desks during the back-to-school shopping season and increases for school and office supplies, such as printers and webcams.
  • There was a 231% increase in demand for weights, followed by dumbbells (152%) and treadmills (127%) from January to December 2020.

Resale's Popularity Expected To Continue Past the Pandemic and Grow To $1.36 Trillion by 2025
The total resale market, which includes secondhand cars and vehicles, is expected to see continued growth and reach a combined $1.36 trillion in the next five years. In 2020, OfferUp combined with letgo and brought together two of America's largest mobile marketplace communities. Among OfferUp's 56 million buyers and sellers on OfferUp in 2020, the marketplace saw significant increases in activity across major population centers, including:

  • New York, NY: 151% increase
  • Chicago, IL: 68% increase
  • Los Angeles, CA: 55% increase
  • Houston, TX: 33% increase
  • Seattle-Tacoma, WA: 44% increase
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL: 15% increase

This is OfferUp's third Recommerce Report and the second edition that includes original research and market analysis of the pandemic's effects on Americans' buying and selling habits.