What you need to know about secondhand furniture sales

Poppy Slater

As Earth Day approaches, a recent survey from FloorFound revealed that more and more consumers either have or plan to purchase secondhand furniture to save money and the planet.

FloorFound, who manages returns and resale for DTC furniture retailers like Joybird, Floyd and Burrow, fielded its inaugural Earth Day consumer survey to examine shopping preferences and behaviors around sustainability, resale and circular commerce.

The survey found that inflation is disrupting the status quo this Earth Day, with nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) reporting that their shopping habits have changed because of rising prices. But in good news for consumers’ pocketbooks and the planet, the majority of respondents (71%) have already purchased used or resale items in the past year. This number is only rising, with three in four (76%) Americans planning to buy a used or resale item in the next year. Chairish, the online vintage furniture, art and home accessories sales service, found similar results in its own survey last year.

Value and sustainability are the top two reasons why shoppers are embracing the recommerce trend, FloorFound said, but consumers diverge in where they shop for the resale items they need and want. Key findings from the survey of more than 600 U.S. consumers include:

Consumers embrace resale as cost-effective and eco-friendly.

Resale offers a “killer combination” of price and sustainability that is critical to protect the planet. This positive impact is poised to grow as consumers plan to shop re-sale even more in the future.

  • Eight in 10 Americans (82%) identify ‘discounted price’ as a primary benefit of buying a used or resale item.
  • More than half (51%) cite ‘sustainability/keeping items out of landfills’ as a primary benefit.
  • Other advantages include uniqueness (36%), quality (24%), and pickup or ship quickly (17%).
  • 76% of shoppers plan to buy resale in the coming year. Those under 30 are especially keen: 84% have bought used goods in the past year, and 87% plan to do so in the coming 12 months.

Large and big-ticket items gain resale momentum.

Apparel and furniture are the most popular resale areas – with oversized and big-ticket items on the radar for the year ahead.

  • The top three resale items purchased by Americans last year were: clothing (44%), furniture (28%) and footwear (22%).
  • Looking forward, the three top resale items on America’s shopping list are: clothing (40%), furniture (31%), home improvement and tools (25%).
  • Appliances and exercise equipment are among the top areas for resale growth. One in five shoppers (19%) plan to buy a used or resale appliance in the next year (vs. 15% last year) and 15% plan to buy used exercise equipment (vs. 9%).

 

Facebook Marketplace emerges as a top destination, but consumer trust is lacking.

Not all resale channels are equal in the minds of consumers when it comes to large purchases like furniture. While Facebook Marketplace has achieved rapid widespread adoption as a leading resale destination, it’s not considered especially trustworthy – ranking lower than retail resale outlets and thrift stores.

  • Six in 10 (59%) sometimes or often purchase furniture on Facebook Marketplace – and that number rises to 70% for Millennial and GenZ shoppers (age 18-24).
  • Best price: Consumers say thrift stores (62%) and Facebook Marketplace (37%) offer the best prices for furniture items.
  • Best experience: Consumers rely on furniture retailers (48%) and thrift stores (38%) to provide the best customer experience. Facebook Marketplace significantly lags (20%).
  • Most transparent: Shoppers trust thrift stores (42%) and retailers (41%) to be honest about the condition of used items. Only 1 in 4 (27%) trust item descriptions on Facebook Marketplace.

Americans want brands to offer resale – and reward those who do.

New resale models are popular but not yet widely known, offering retailers a unique opportunity to better serve customers and build brand value through sustainability.

  • While apparel resale models like The RealReal and Patagonia are making news, the majority of Americans (59%) remain unaware of these types of circular commerce initiatives.
  • However, the majority (54%) of shoppers under 30 are familiar with these resale models, signaling a higher comfort level among the next generation of consumers.
  • Nearly seven in 10 consumers (68%) are interested in resale programs that provide high-quality used furniture in good condition at a discount – and 89% would think the same or better of a brand that offered resale items.

“This survey indicates that new resale models represent an important growth opportunity for oversized retailers and brand manufacturers, “said Chris Richter, founder and CEO, FloorFound. “So far, consumers are very receptive to resale but largely unaware of full-scale recommerce programs. Retailers and brands can, and should, act now to implement and promote recommerce initiatives in order to take market share, increase revenue and do their part in protecting the planet.”

What you need to know about secondhand furniture sales

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