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eBay data reveals sustainable fashion habits of the pandemic are here to stay

Tom Shearsmith
03 September 2021

eBay UK has revealed that the sustainably savvy shopping habits seen during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely here to stay, with an estimated 28 million pre-loved fashion items given a new home so far this year.

Saving 17,771 tonnes, the equivalent weight of 1,404 double decker buses of fashion items going to landfill, eBay is encouraging consumers to continue buying and selling second-hand items to help the nation tackle the whopping 336,000 tonnes of clothing sent to landfill every year in the UK.

Data from eBay UK revealed that so far in 2021, 87 million pre-loved items went to a new home, almost a quarter of which were pre-loved fashion items.

Sales of pre-loved items are up 29% since 2018 suggesting a more permanent shift towards thrift as the pandemic drives more conscious shopping behaviours. During lockdown of 2021, there were 32% more secondhand sales as Brits looked to declutter and make some extra cash.

Emma Grant, Head of Preloved at eBay UK said: “It’s fantastic to see conscious shopping getting more mainstream and sustainable purchasing habits stretching beyond the pandemic, proving that pre-loved is more than just a trend. With the market for second hand sales continuing to grow, this year we’ve managed to save even more items from landfill by finding them new homes and extending their lifecycle.

This Oxfam’s Second Hand September, we’re encouraging consumers to clear out their cupboards and sell for charity by matching donations. With the new season upon us there’s no better time to clear out those cupboards, help your items find a new home, making a little money and all while supporting an amazing cause.”

Oxfam’s Second Hand September encourages the nation to buy and sell only second-hand for 30 days or more to stop clothes from going to landfill.

This year, to share the pre-loved love, eBay UK has announced that it will match all items sold for Oxfam on the marketplace £1 for £1 - with consumers able to donate anything from 10%-100% of the proceeds from each item. The money raised will go to Oxfam’s work beating poverty around the world.

Lorna Fallon at Oxfam, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with eBay to encourage people to buy and sell second-hand clothing, and raise as much money as possible for our work fighting poverty around the world. Buying second-hand helps to reduce the impact of clothing on the environment by giving garments a new lease of life.”

House of Baukjen has teamed up with charity Oxfam for its Second Hand September initiative. Earlier this week, British fashion giant Superdry also announced that it too would be staging a "Give Back" scheme.

The figures highlight key themes that illustrate UK shopping trends post pandemic:

Clear Cupboards Clear Minds

Starting the year in lockdown gave the nation the opportunity to declutter their cupboards and minds while making some extra cash with 32% more secondhand sales as thrifty Brits took to the marketplace to cure January blues.

The Pre-Loved Roadmap

Just six days after the Government published its roadmap out of lockdown, shoppers were keen to pick up pre-loved items to help them prepare for the route to freedom as February 28th saw the highest number of pre-loved sales so far in 2021.

Nostalgic Revival

With 2020 spent mostly locked down at home, the nation found comfort in the styles of days gone by inspiring a return to the nineties and noughties with sweater vest searches jumping up 888% and searches for Juicy Couture tracksuits up 200%.

eBay UK also published data revealing the most popular brands to buy and sell secondhand in 2021 so far, with Next taking the top spot.

1. Next
2. Nike
3. M&S
4. Adidas
5. Zara
6. New Look
7. River Island
8. Primark
9. George
10. H&M

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