Mercari's First-Ever Reuse Report Reveals: Americans are Projected to Spend $160.1 Billion on Secondhand Items in 2021

U.S. households are cluttered with 23.6 billion unused items, showcasing an abundance of supply for the circular economy
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercari, the online marketplace that connects millions of people across the U.S. to shop and sell items no longer being used, today announced its first-ever Reuse Report. The comprehensive research report uncovers the significant size and scale of the reuse ecosystem beyond apparel and across household categories. From vintage collectibles to household goods and electronics to baby gear, this cross-category study was conducted in partnership with third-party retail analytics firm, GlobalData.

Courtesy of Mercari
Courtesy of Mercari

Mercari's inaugural report revealed that the secondhand market is expected to generate $160.1 billion in revenue this year. The total resale market has grown by 53.3% during the past five years, and findings from Mercari's Reuse Report suggest there is potential for even more significant growth. The report forecasts that by 2030, American consumers will spend $353.9 billion on secondhand items. This is 153.5% growth over 2020—3.2 times that of the 36.7% growth anticipated for the retail sector.

"While resale is sometimes thought of as a niche market, its size indicates it is a mainstream part of the consumer economy. In the past 12 months, 74.9% of Americans polled bought at least one secondhand item," said John Lagerling, Mercari US CEO. "Three-quarters of adults participating in the reuse ecosystem shows that buying secondhand is now almost as commonplace as going to the grocery store."

Major insights from Mercari's 2021 Reuse Report include:

  • American consumers are expected to spend $160.1 billion on secondhand goods this year—up 14.6% from the $139.6 billion spent last year.
  • By 2030, consumers are forecast to spend $353.9 billion on secondhand. This is 153.5% growth from 2020—3.2 times that of the 36.7% growth anticipated for the retail sector.
  • Over the past 12 months, 74.9% of American adults polled bought at least one secondhand item—this equates to 196.6 million people participating in the reuse economy.
  • Saving money is the primary reason for shopping resale, mentioned by 74.6% of secondhand shoppers. However, a variety of other reasons—including finding new things, the fun of 'treasure hunting', sustainability, and a sense of community—are also driving interest in secondhand.
  • 62.9% of the adult population—which projects to 165 million people—have sold at least one secondhand item in the past 12 months and 51.8% of sellers resell items as a side hustle to make some cash; 12.3% say selling used items is now their primary income stream.
  • American households are currently sitting on an estimated $580 billion of products they're no longer using (the equivalent of $4,517 per household). In volume terms this equates to 23.6 billion items (184 items per household).

"Last year, some 1.6 billion functional, saleable items were thrown into the trash, which is neither sustainable nor financially savvy," said Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData. "However, the rise of online marketplaces and resale platforms is allowing consumers to both make money and do right by the environment as they sell unwanted products to those who will make use of them. More people are now engaging in the reuse ecosystem and are finding the experience enjoyable."

Download the full Reuse Report here.

About Mercari's 2021 Reuse Report
The Reuse Report is Mercari's first publication looking into the U.S. reuse ecosystem and the resale market. It was produced in association with GlobalData in October 2021.

Market sizing data is produced by GlobalData. GlobalData's assessment of the secondhand market is determined through consumer surveys, retailer tracking, official public data, data sharing, store observation, and secondary sources. These inputs are used by analysts to model and calculate market sizes, channel sizes, and market shares. Consumer statistics are based on a June 2021 survey and a September 2021 survey of 2,004 and 2,009 Americans, respectively, ages 18-75 conducted by third-party online market research company Zogby Analytics for Mercari.

Forward Looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts. The words "will", "estimate", "anticipate", "intend", "expect", "predict", "forecast" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Except as required by law, Mercari has no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements to conform these statements to actual results or revised expectations.

About Mercari
Mercari is your marketplace. Our platform connects millions of people across the U.S. to shop and sell items no longer being used. Mercari is constantly innovating to make exchanges easier, from at-home authentication to improvements in online payments and shipping. Mercari has more than 50 million downloads in the U.S. and 350,000 new listings every day, empowering the next generation to transform the way they shop. Mercari can be downloaded on app stores or accessed online through www.mercari.com.

Media Contact
Tiffany Olson
tiffany.olson@mercari.com

(PRNewsfoto/M. Booth & Associates, Inc.)
(PRNewsfoto/M. Booth & Associates, Inc.)

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