For over 25 years, eBay has enabled millions of consumers to give a second life to goods and enabled individuals and businesses to earn valuable income by doing so. Whether through individuals selling items online they had around the house that were no longer wanted or needed, or small businesses facilitating online access to spare parts for repair, or refurbished devices that have years of useful service left, eBay is at the forefront of recommerce and a key player in the circular economy. Our new report, eBay and the Circular Economy, focuses on how eBay helps expand circular consumption through product reuse, refurbishment, repair, and related strategies to extend the useful life of consumer goods.
The first part of the report provides a backdrop of the state of the circular economy, with a particular focus on the consumer electronics and fashion apparel sectors, which are two of the most impactful due to the overall high volume of consumption, relatively short product lifespans, and negative environmental impacts. Topics include the potential for increasing product reuse, refurbishment and repair, barriers holding back the wider resale of pre-owned and refurbished items, and policymaker interest in Europe.
The second part of this report uses the results of surveys of eBay sellers in the European Union and Australia to provide insights into the interest and capabilities of small businesses and individuals in those markets to advance recommerce more broadly by meeting consumer demands for sustainable commerce. This is helping to extend the useful life of a wide range of consumer products to great environmental and economic benefit. This section includes a focus on the key circular economy sectors of consumer electronics, fashion and apparel, and, for the EU, motor parts. This section also includes recommendations for policymakers in the European Union and Australia when considering sustainability and environmental issues.
For the EU, key findings include that 78% of sellers surveyed said they sold non-new items, 52% of their sales were reported to be from second-hand and refurbished items, and 96% said they do not discard unsold items. Additionally, 84% of EU sellers surveyed that sell refurbished items expect their five-year sales to stay the same or grow. With regard to Australia, 74% of sellers surveyed said that buying pre-owned items has become more common in recent years and 83% of sellers of pre-owned goods that were surveyed reported they sell items from their household they no longer need. Finally, when asked the total number and estimated value of items sitting around their home they would consider selling, Australian sellers identified an average of 15 items worth $1,575 AUD.
Read the full report HERE