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News.

Updated: 12 May 2022

Where to buy and sell second hand online

Second-hand fashion platform Vinted is the leading marketplace in our survey, impressing buyers and sellers alike.
blue jeans being put into cardboard box

Second-hand shopping is seeing a boom. Once the preserve of high-street charity shops, flea markets and vintage fairs, you can now find all sorts of treasures online.

Established marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Gumtree compete with new contenders such as Depop and Vinted to offer endless supplies of second-hand – or 'pre-loved' – bargains.

Not only is it kind on your wallet, but it also supports a circular economy, resisting the churn of fast consumerism and keeping discarded, little-used products away from landfill.

In a recent customer satisfaction survey, we found that nearly two thirds of respondents were actively using these sorts of websites to buy and sell their stuff.

Some are more well-liked than others, and opinions differ amongst buyers and sellers. If you're coming to the world of second hand for the first time – either to buy or sell – find out what people make of the different options below.


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How the second hand marketplaces compare

 

We asked 4,000 people about their experiences buying and 4,000 about selling on ten of the most popular online second hand marketplaces.

The customer scores are based on a demographically representative equal sample of those who bought and those who sold. The star ratings are based on those who responded about buying or freely acquring items. We only asked people about second-hand items.


Read more: how to buy second hand online and how to sell second hand online 


Second hand marketplace buying results 

MarketplaceCustomer scorePostage optionsEase of contacting seller
Ease of making offer/purchasingSetting up an accountEase of searchingEase of paying for items
Vinted (220)75%
Facebook Marketplace (796)68%
Gumtree (470)68%
eBay (1030)67%
Freecycle (240)67%
n/a
n/a
Amazon Marketplace (256)64%
Depop (192)61%

Survey data collected in January 2022. Customer scores combined for buying and selling. Sample sizes in brackets. For each brand this is an equal split between people who had bought and sold using a marketplace. Customer score is based on satisfaction using the marketplace and likelihood of recommending it. Customers rated other aspects of service, presented as star ratings. 4,000 people were asked about buying using online marketplaces.

Second hand marketplace selling results 

MarketplaceCustomer scoreEase of contacting potential buyer Ease of receiving paymentEase of listing items for saleFlexibility of delivery optionsEase of setting delivery costs
Vinted (220)75%
Facebook Marketplace (796)68%
Gumtree (470)68%
eBay (1030)67%
Freecycle (240)67%
n/a
n/an/a
Amazon Marketplace64%
Depop (192)61%

Survey data collected in January 2022. Customer scores combined for buying and selling. Sample sizes in brackets. For each brand this is an equal split between people who had bought and sold using a marketplace. Customer score is based on satisfaction using the marketplace and likelihood of recommending it. Customers rated other aspects of service, presented as star ratings. 4,000 people were asked about selling using online marketplaces.

The best online marketplaces 

Vinted came top of our table, and is the only brand to receive five stars from both buyers and sellers for the ease of contacting each other. Along with Amazon Marketplace, it was rated five stars for the ease of making a purchase or offer.

One Vinted user told us their only issue was: 'the hours of scrolling trying to find the perfect thing, because you are spoilt for choice'. Another praised the site's 'lovely community of people'.

Vinted is limited to clothes, shoes and accessories along with some homewares. But other marketplaces peformed strongly in our survey too.

Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, eBay and Freecycle all offer an almost exhaustive number of categories, and all received three or four stars for most ratings.


Find out more about what the different marketplaces offer and how they work: the best and worst places to shop second hand online.


Which online marketplaces are the worst performers? 

Bottom of the table in our survey was Preloved (56%), an online classified ads site that has been around since 1998.

It did well in some areas: sellers gave it four stars for several factors including ease of contacting buyers, listing items for sale and the flexibility of delivery options. Buyers thought that it was easy to search for items, but gave it two stars for the ease of contacting the seller, postage options and paying for items.

Nextdoor and Shpock also placed near the bottom of the table with 59%. Both got two stars from sellers for the ease of receiving payment. Buyers also gave Shpock two stars for paying for items.

Our survey also revealed that sellers have concerns that these marketplaces can lean towards favouring the buyer with 12% of sellers raising a complaint and 32% of these unhappy with the platform's final response.

And several buyers and sellers commented on their worries that scammers were too prevalent on some marketplaces and advised potential marketplace users to research buyers and sellers carefully.

You should think carefully about how you pay for items online as well. If there is an option to pay securely through the platform, use it and don't pay for items by online transfer. Check whether the marketplace, or way you pay (such as PayPal), offers buyer (or seller) protection.

Read more: Know your rights when buying second-hand goods