Second-hand economy: Aussie households are sitting on a gold mine, Gumtree finds

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Amateur trader Yan Qin checks her smartphone for stock reports in New York, December 7, 2010. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

The typical Aussie household sits on a “gold mine” of up to 25 unwanted items that can be sold for over $5,400. This is according to findings of new research from classifieds site Gumtree.

The site has found that an increasing number of people tap into the estimated $43.5 billion second-hand economy to make extra cash, save for a home deposit or take a holiday. Its seventh annual Second Hand Economy Report indicate that the value of the sector rose by almost $4 billion compared to last year’s figures, while the average value of sellable household items rose by over $200.

Gumtree general manager Martin Herbst said Aussies, in general, are very resourceful. He explained that the second-hand economy allows Aussies to tap into some unwanted items.

Herbst said it is a “very big time of the year” as it is a great season for spring cleaning. During the winter, several items have gathered dust, and it is time to declutter and sell some pre-loved items.

Australia’s second-hand economy

Based on Gumtree estimates, for the first time, over 100 million items exchanged hands through the second-hand economy. Of 60 percent who sold second-hand items, 83 percent used the internet.

Among the most common items on offer were clothes, shoes and accessories, followed by books, music, DVDs, CDs and electronic goods. Over three quarters of parents said they had bought second-hand items when having a baby. These include toys, cots and clothes.

Gumtree did not have statistics on average time it took for an item to sell, but Herbst noted that latest updates had made the process much more seamless. “You can use the app to take a photo and get it online in a matter of seconds,” he said, according to

Herbst said the site is focused on leading the second-hand economy. Overall, he thinks the e-commerce market in general had a lot of potential to grow.

Sydney-based building regulator Ed Di Michiel, 23, said a growing number of people his age were turning to the second-hand economy. “I’m starting to get more expenses, more bills are coming in, life’s getting a bit more expensive in general so it definitely helps,” quotes him as saying.

Herbst believes Amazon’s arrival in Australia would be good for the whole industry. Herbst said he thinks competition is good, specifically for consumers, because they need a lot more choice.

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