How selling your old junk could make you more than $4000

Thousands of Aussies are turning to second-hand trading, and new research has shown it is now a multi-billion dollar industry

Are you a bargain hunter or a serious cash maker? Thousands of Aussies are turning to buying and selling second hand products, with new research showing the industry is now worth a staggering $34 billion. Aussie households could make over $4000 just by selling their junk around the home.

TODAY spoke with Kirsty Dunn from Gumtree who was able to show us how.

TODAY: Why are so many of us turning to second-hand trading?

DUNN: Our research estimates that the average Australian household is sitting on 25 unwanted items worth approximately $4,200. Most Australians (56%) have sold second hand items in the last year, with 1.3 million Australians joining the second hand economy by selling online for the first time during this period. We attribute this to several key factors including;

  • Aussie’s inherent resourceful nature and eagerness to ‘make a buck’ with two thirds telling us the main benefits of using the second hand economy are; cheaper prices and greater savings (72%), reduces waste by recycling useful items (66%) and the ability to cash in and make money (53%).
  • The financial stress and overall impact that the cost of living (57%) and mortgage repayments (17%) have on society, with these two factors presenting the biggest financial strains for most Australian households.
  • Combined with the rise of digital marketplaces like Gumtree that allow you to buy and sell items for free, making it even easier for consumers to embrace the gig and share economies. Now with your smartphone, anyone can cash in on those unwanted items that often end up clogging your storage spaces or in landfill.

TODAY: eBay and Gumtree are the big online traders, what should we be selling there?

DUNN: One of the great things about Gumtree is that you can buy or sell just about anything! The most commonly sold second hand items include clothing, shoes and accessories, home décor and furniture, games and toys and electronic goods — and even used cars. This year’s Second Hand Economy Report revealed that the most popular unwanted items are clothing, shoes and accessories (65), books (57%), music, DVDs and CDs (54%), games and toys (48%) and electronics (47%).

We also recently heard the story of a Sydney family that renovated their entire home using Gumtree, saving $40,000 on everything from gas fire places, tiles and gardening equipment. And there are plenty of other people across Australia making second hand trading work for both business and pleasure purposes.

TODAY: Selling and buying on social media is also growing, to what would you attribute this trend? 

DUNN: Any time you buy, swap, sell or donate second hand, you’re part of the second hand economy. Our research show that online is by far the most popular way to sell second hand goods — 88% of those who have sold second hand items in the past year did so online. Furthermore, the Gumtree report revealed that 1.3 million Australians joined the second hand economy by selling online for the first time during this same period!

Our report revealed the cost of living (57%) and making mortgage repayments (17%), presents the biggest financial strains for most Australian households, with the second hand economy helping to alleviate this. Social media has been a big contributor of showcasing many successful stories of savvy Australians using the second hand economy to find unique gems whilst making a small fortune. Consumers are becoming increasingly eager to grow their own side hustle’, with this peer-to-peer form of trading one of the easiest and oldest ways of doing so. The advent of technology has made this even easier to do now – it really can be done at just the click of a few buttons.

TODAY: Not everything you sell is used, or junk, so how can people make money back on flashier items?

DUNN: Making money back on your flashier items starts with your first purchase. Whenever you buy a new item, think about its second life so you can make the best return if and when you decide to sell it. For example, when purchasing the latest Smartphone, protect the items and preserve as much of the original packaging as possible. This will add significant value when it comes time to re-sale. We know that fast fashion ends up contributing a lot to landfill, but we often want a really nice, often designer, dress for special occasions like weddings. In this case, it really does make sense to turn to the second hand economy –either to buy or resell your designer items. There’s also plenty of unique or vintage items which could be worth a small fortune, so it pays to check if the item you have left collecting dust is worth something.

TODAY: And finally, what are your tips on how to make your ad more attractive?

DUNN: Here are my tips:

  • Do your research: Dedicate time to researching what’s out there and the average price of similar items to make sure you’re setting a fair price. If you want to make a quick sale, price under the usual going rate to ensure your ad stands out.
  • Be descriptive: Describe the product you’re selling, including its features, a brief history and reasons for selling the item. The more information you provide, the more likely you are to make a sale at the price you’re looking for. You can be as creative as you like!
  • Upload high quality photos: Upload high quality images to make sure your listing stands out from the rest. You can also pay to upgrade your ad to ensure more people see it
  • Manage your listing: Ensure you keep on top of messages from potential buyers. Communicate quickly and directly through My Messages and download the Gumtree app on your phone so you can manage your ad on the go. You can even buy an upgrade for your listing, to help your ad stand out from others in that category
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