Preloved: A Surging Business Sector

Cost cutting and climate saving are the reasons many consumers turn to preloved. But the numbers show demand is surging faster than many might have thought.

The concept of taking something old and reselling it is hardly new. But for a wealth of reasons, recent years have seen a boom in upcycling and reselling centric businesses.

Our growing awareness of the sustainability value in reusing old items (as opposed to mass producing new ones) plays a part in a demand increase for “preloved.” Undoubtedly the current cost of living crisis has a role to play here too. But just how much growth have we seen in the sector?

We took a look at some specific preloved and used searches to find out.

Second Hand Jewellery

According to statistics from earlier this year, most of us have unwanted or broken jewellery around the house. There’s a host of companies now who’ll take it off your hands either to repair and resell or simply for the value in the metals. And this represents a significant growing market too.

We took a look at the number of searches being made in Google in the UK (using to get an idea.

  • In October 2019, 3,600 searches were made in Google UK for “second hand jewellery.” In October 2023 this was up to 4,400 – a 22% increase in demand

  • In October 2019, there were 1,000 searches for “sell my gold,” up by 140% to 2,400 searches in October 2023

So it comes as little surprise that we see increasing numbers of companies operating in this space.

Second Hand Clothing

Again comparing October 2019 searches with October 2023 searches, we see a growth in demand here too:

  • “Second hand clothes” searches grew from 5,400 to 9,900 searches in Google UK – a 83% increase in demand

  • “Sell my clothes” rose from 390 searches to 880 – a 125% increase in demand in the last 4 years

So this is a market with rising demand.

Used Cars

Always a big business area, the used car market is also thriving. We compared data from October 2019 with October 2023 again and found:

  • Searches for “sell my car” rose from 60,500 to 165,000 – an increase of 172% in just 4 years

  • “Buy used cars” rose from 8,100 to 27,100 – a 234% increase

Preloved Business is Booming

With dedicated preloved platforms like Vinted and Reliked attracting hundreds of thousands of buyers and sellers, eBay is no longer the only platform at play.

It’s easier than ever before for consumers to upcycle or resell their own items easily and the platforms in the middle can make some real revenues. Vinted has seen sizeable revenue increases in a short space of time and it seems new platforms are launching all the time.

With more emphasis than ever before on sustainable business and cost cutting for consumers, we anticipate that 2024 will be an even bigger and better year for the businesses making their money in the preloved market.