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Gen Z Driving A More Sustainable Future With eBay Selling Pre-Owned Goods

The second annual Recommerce Report was released by eBay

showing that sales of pre-owned products have grown among the younger generations. The survey found that in the past year, 80% of Gen Z who were surveyed bought secondhand, while nearly one in three sold secondhand goods.

Gen Z moving toward a circular economy

The report highlights that Gen Z is driving real change in terms of using recommerce (selling and buying pre-owned goods) as a means of positively contributing to sustainability efforts. Approximately 34% of buyers survey respondents around the world named sustainability as a reason for recommerce, as do 27% of sellers. Renee Morin, chief sustainability officer of eBay, said, “The number one reason to sell pre-owned goods on eBay is to earn extra cash and the second reason is to keep products out of landfills.” eBay’s report notes that by keeping products in circulation longer, sellers can contribute to a robust circular economy that is essential for the sustainability of the planet.

According to the report, Gen Z’s love for secondhand goods is creating more economic opportunities while also contributing to a greener future with 32% of new sellers being Gen Z followed by Millennials at 16%.“Empowering people and creating economic opportunity for all is at the heart of everything we do at eBay and the ripple effect of our work creates waves of change,” said eBay CEO Jamie Iannone. “Our marketplace allows people to rediscover the value of secondhand items with the added bonus of contributing to a more prosperous, more sustainable future for everyone.”

Demand for pre-owned goods is high

As the demand for pre-owned apparel, technology and electronics grows, eBay has continued to expand the breadth and variety of the marketplace to better meet the demands of the changing consumer. In 2021, eBay’s sellers delivered $2.7 billion in sales (measured in gross merchandise value-GMV) in pre-owned electronics and apparel in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

Demand for secondhand items scales beyond vintage clothing and technology items. Collectibles (which includes trading cards, toys, art, sports memorabilia, coins, and bullion) continue to be one of the top categories on eBay, and the trading cards category is growing at a notable pace, with U.S. trading cards GMV hitting $2 billion in the first half of 2021 which equals the total revenue (GMV) generated in the full year of 2020.

Environmental consciousness

eBay does not just keep unused objects out of landfills, it also conserves energy, resources and the costs of creating new items from the entire product lifecycle. Morin said, “The circular economy is a big win for buyers and sellers and is a flywheel that continuously connects buyers and sellers.” Morin discussed how sellers become buyers over time and buyers become sellers so both become part of a highly engaged community of recommerce. Morin discussed that consumers worldwide recognize that recommerce can be a potential source of great income with the added benefit of contributing to a greener planet.

In 2021, preowned products sold on eBay reduced carbon emissions, the primary contributor to the climate crisis, by approximately 540,000 metric tons which is the equivalent of powering almost 65,000 U.S. homes for one year.

eBay noted in its report that the company is carbon-neutral, reducing emissions for offices and data centers and offsetting its remaining carbon footprint in 2021. Going forward the goals include sourcing 100% of electricity supply from renewable energy sources by 2025 for eBay-controlled data centers and offices, while reducing 90% of carbon emissions from its operations by 2030. And by 2025, the recommerce goal is to create $20 billion in positive economic impacts and avoid 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions which is the equivalent of taking over 1.5 million cars off the road for a year.

eBay’s plans to be the thought leader on recommerce

The company plans to release new methodologies and key performance indicators around the recommerce sector and to develop guidelines to share with the industry. Morin stated, “Our ultimate goal is to be the thought leader in the space of recommerce.” Morin discussed how sharing information, measurements and benchmarks like the Recommerce Report will allow other companies to learn from the eBay footprint and put action into words around the recommerce market. “eBay will be introducing new methodology and financial metrics in the future to better measure the environmental and financial impacts of recommerce.”

Revenues break $10 billion

The growth of recommerce continues to remain strong with eBay’s full-year revenues up 17% to over $10 billion. eBay has been continuously recognized for its commitment to environmental and corporate responsibility through inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World and North America Indices and Investors Business Dai

ly’s list of 100 Best ESG Companies. eBay has 147 million active buyers and 17 million sellers worldwide.