Amazon survey highlights gap between reuse and repair demand


second-hand products

53% of British people surveyed said they enjoy looking for deals on second-hand items; however, only 22% surveyed would mend an appliance if it breaks, according to new research released by Amazon.

The study also found that 93% of people surveyed check “used” prices against new when shopping online, with 34% refusing to pay full price for any product. 34% of respondents said they would gift a quality second-hand item to a loved one for Christmas – up from 20% who said they would be happy to do so last year.

Despite the enthusiasm for buying second-hand and refurbished items, only 22% surveyed would mend an appliance if it breaks. Instead of fixing it, 19% of respondents said they throw away items such as toasters and kettles when they break, while 36% said they recycle them.

Amazon says the most common reasons for giving up on a repair were not knowing where to start and worrying that attempts to repair something would make it worse.

When you buy second hand, you’re not just saving money, you are also giving a product a second chance.

Gen Z – those born after 1996 – were the age group most likely to buy pre-loved items, with 31% of the clothes they wear and 33% of the tech they own being second-hand, on average. 44% surveyed said they typically shop pre-loved first, but only 30% would repair a broken appliance. 

Millennial shoppers – aged 27 to 42 – were the most open to learning how to repair a broken tech item, with 45% surveyed saying they have visited a “repairs café” in the past 12 months, while 72% said they have successfully followed a DIY repairs video on YouTube.

Baby Boomers surveyed were among the least likely to try to repair and prolong the life of their belongings, with just 28% looking for pre-loved items before new ones.

AmazonCutting costs was the biggest reason all age groups purchased second-hand items, with 87% believing it’s good to save money when shopping, even if they can afford to pay full price. 59% also said they feel it’s important to buy pre-loved or to extend a product’s life, for the planet.

Sam Littlejohn, Head of Returns and Repairs, Amazon Europe, commented: “When you buy second hand, you’re not just saving money, you are also giving a product a second chance.

“The beauty of second-hand shopping is that it’s like a treasure hunt. You never know what unique and valuable items you’ll discover while giving a second chance to pre-loved goods.”

Amazon says it sold 4 million returned and refurbished products in the UK last year online through Amazon Second Chance saving British customers more than £100 million. In the first nine months of 2023, Amazon says sales of second-hand goods in the UK increased by more than 15% compared to the same period last year.

In its opening week, home and kitchen items including upright hoovers and food blenders, game consoles and controllers, laptops, smartphones and toys were the most popular categories bought in the Second Chance Store.

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