As Britain's recommerce market booms, Scottish businesses are getting in on the action

With eBay’s latest Recommerce Report finding that 62% of Brits are selling more secondhand items now than they were 1-5 years ago, Scottish businesses like GPS Vintage are flourishing in the sustainable and fast-growing recommerce market.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:30 pm
Gavin Livingstone and partner Adele turned their side hustle of selling secondhand clothes online into a fully-fledged, profitable online business

The report published last week revealed that amid the ongoing economic and social impacts of the pandemic, more UK sellers on eBay had started to sell secondhand and pre-loved items as an additional source of income.

Two thirds of UK sellers started selling secondhand items in 2020, the report found, with a further 81% of those surveyed across the UK, USA, Canada, Germany and France telling eBay that they had bought pre-owned goods amid the financial strain of the pandemic.

Emma Grant, Head of Pre-loved, eBay UK, said: “Not only does the growing recommerce market create economic opportunity for sellers and help customers shop more thriftly, but it’s also great to see the circular economy in action as our sellers promote more sustainable shopping habits.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"Recommerce has always been at the heart of eBay and supporting the transition to a more sustainability-conscious society is hugely important to us, while making sure both buyers and sellers benefit from the economic opportunity that we see it brings.”

Gavin Livingston, from Glasgow, had been selling secondhand, pre-loved clothing on eBay for the last ten years before creating his online vintage clothing store, GPS Vintage.

"Initially I was working a normal job and I was selling clothes on the side to save money for a deposit on a mortgage and stuff,” Gavin said. “But yeah I started to hit really good numbers and I've always enjoyed doing it, so the fact that myself and my partner can now make a salary and a job from the businesses is fantastic, especially after the year that we've had.”

Gavin said that despite an influx of new part-time sellers entering and crowding the recommerce market, there is nonetheless plenty of room and potential for businesses to carve out their own niche and stand out from the crowd.

"Our sales remain high and we sell a range of niche products that not many other resellers stock. What we're most known for Levi's jeans and we sell like up to 200 pairs a month or something like that.”

With the option to rework or adapt secondhand clothing for resale, there is a further opportunity to reuse and recycle clothing which is becoming attractive to sellers and buyers alike.

eBay’s Recommerce Report pointed to a higher number of younger consumers looking to opt out of the fast fashion cycles, with cheaper clothing brands like Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing generating eye-watering profits from mass-produced clothing.

“For us, it’s all about saving clothes from landfill,” Gavin added. "I don't think people realise you know what huge effect it has on the planet and environment. Even just making like one pair of Levi's jeans can use thousands of litres of water.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.