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Garage goldmine: Is there $1,200 hiding at your place?


Kiwis love secondhand stuff and every New Zealander has 15 used and unwanted items they could offload according to a recent report by Trade Me on the secondhand economy.

Trade Me’s Head of Marketplace Lisa Stewart said nearly 4,300 New Zealanders took part in the survey which looked at Kiwis’ buying and selling habits, and attitudes towards secondhand items.

“Secondhand goods have been an integral part of Trade Me’s DNA since we started 20 years ago and we’ve loved the role we’ve played in helping millions of Kiwis extend the useful life of unwanted items. But we wanted to understand more about New Zealand’s secondhand economy.

“We wanted more detail on what motivates Kiwis to buy and sell secondhand, how big the market was and to understand just how many items might be lurking in wardrobes, garages, under stairs and in ceiling spaces around New Zealand gathering dust when they could be put to better use.”

Ms Stewart said the report identified there are approximately 73.4 million secondhand items across the country that are no longer used or needed but are in perfect working order. “That means that each Kiwi has approximately 15 items lying around the house or lurking in the garage which they could sell, donate or give away.

“Based on the average sale price of items onsite, we’ve estimated that those 15 items would fetch you $1,200 on Trade Me.”

Kiwis love buying secondhand stuff
Ms Stewart said New Zealanders aren’t snobs about buying used goods with 76 per cent having bought a secondhand item in the last six months.

“Those who live in rural New Zealand are slightly more likely to buy secondhand than those living in urban areas with 57 per cent of those in the provinces saying they definitely would buy secondhand compared to just 47 per cent of Kiwis who live in urban New Zealand.”

Ms Stewart said out of any region, those in Marlborough are the strongest supporters of the secondhand economy while Aucklanders are the least inclined to buy and sell secondhand.

“We love our secondhand stuff too with 68 per cent of Kiwis claiming they are at least a little proud of their secondhand buys.

“When it comes to why people buy secondhand, the primary reason is to save money (62 per cent), but for some it’s more about finding something unique and different (20 per cent).”

Kiwis sell to declutter
“The Marie Kondo effect is alive and well in New Zealand with 51 per cent of Kiwis claiming the biggest reason for selling their unwanted items is to make space and declutter.

“There are those of us who do it for the money with 37 per cent saying the number one reason for selling unwanted stuff is to make some extra cash.

“We expected more Kiwis would be selling their secondhand things for environmental reasons but just 5 per cent told us that this was their motivation for offloading their preloved items. We expect this to grow in coming years though.”

Ms Stewart said Kiwis have big hearts and while 51 per cent sold the last item they offloaded, 42 per cent gave it away or donated it to charity.

The future of the secondhand economy
“From what New Zealand has told us there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight to the local secondhand economy. Kiwis still love a bargain and the thrill of the chase, and that isn’t set to change any time soon.”

Ms Stewart said what will change is the reasons people have for buying and selling secondhand.
“With climate change becoming front of mind for more Kiwis, along with a greater push for retailers to act responsibly and sustainably, we suspect that secondhand items will be seen as an important part of keeping perfectly functional items out of landfills and in the hands of people who want or need them.

“We look forward to doing this research annually to track trends and evaluate how the secondhand economy develops in New Zealand in the years to come.”


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