Second-hand shopping supports Aussies struggling with the cost-of-living

  • 27% said second-hand purchases helped them face financial pressures
  • 24% are buying more second-hand as cost of living rises
  • 31% will buy more second-hand if economy worsens
  • 49% have sellable items around the house, worth an average of $1,681
  • 57% are ‘virtually cashless’, using cash for less than 10% of transactions

PayPal Australia's new Garage Sale Trail research shows that Australians are using the circular economy to help make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis, with more than a quarter (27%) saying second-hand purchases have helped them when facing financial pressures.

PayPal Australia is partnering with Garage Sale Trail, Australia’s largest community sustainability event, for the third consecutive year, offering secure cashless QR code payments at thousands of garage sales across the country over two weekends in November (11, 12, 18 and 19 November).

Converting Clutter to Cash

The survey, completed by more than 1000 Australian consumers, showed that one-in-four (24%) Australians are buying more second-hand goods as prices continue to rise, and a third (31%) say they’ll buy even more second-hand if economic conditions worsen.

Thankfully, it’s not just buying second-hand goods that can help the hip pocket, as half of all Australians (49%) say they have unused or unwanted stuff around the house that they could sell, which they estimate could earn an average of $1,681.

“This is a challenging time for most Australians, but I’m thrilled that buying and selling pre-loved stuff is helping so many manage their budgets, while helping the environment,” said Garage Sale Trail Co-Founder and Director Andrew Valder. “Last year more than 300,000 Australians shopped and sold at more than 15,000 garage sales across the country, diverting more than 3 million kgs of goods from landfill and maximising the energy and resources used in their production.”     

Reselling Renaissance

The research showed a thriving circular economy in Australia with two-in-five (43%) having bought something second-hand with the past year, and more than a third (35%) having sold something second-hand over the same period. Attitudes towards purchasing pre-loved were also positive, with two-in-five (40%) agreeing that buying second-hand was now mainstream, and nothing to be embarrassed about, and about the same number (37%) saying they’re proud to buy second-hand because it’s better for the environment.

As a further sign of the economic times, the most popular reason to buy second-hand was saving money, with 3-in-5 citing this reason, followed by giving products a second life (43%), and a desire to shop sustainably, reducing waste and landfill.

Cashless Circular Economy

When it comes to how Aussies want to buy second-hand, it looks like the future of the circular economy may be cash-free. Three-in-five Australians (57%) say they’re already virtually cashless, using hard currency for just 10% of all transactions, and 14% have stopped using cash altogether. For garage sales specifically, about 1-in-5 (16%) say they’d be more likely to make a purchase if cashless payments were available, and this rises to more than a quarter (26%) of Gen Z.

Two-in-five (40%) say QR codes, like those used for PayPal’s cashless in-person payments, are easy to use, and a quarter (26%) say they feel safter buying second-hand if PayPal is a payment option.

Garage Sale Trail sellers and shoppers with a PayPal account can make and accept touch free QR code payments. No special equipment or payment is needed, but a smartphone and the PayPal app.

“We know that any friction in the payment process can lose customers, whether that’s caused by too many clicks in a checkout flow online, or by not accepting cashless payments,” said PayPal’s head of Customer Success Management, Alison O’Brien. “With nothing but a PayPal account and the app, sellers can make sure they never miss a valuable sale because a shopper forgot their wallet or didn’t have the right change.”

About the Research – 2023 PayPal Garage Sale Trail Research

The research was produced by PayPal Australia, based on an online study conducted by Fifth Quadrant with n=1005 sample size. The consumer research consisted of a sample audience of Australians aged 18-75, and was weighted by age, gender and location to ensure data was nationally representative. Quotas and samples were set on turnover and location. The research was fielded in September 2023.

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