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How much could you save by shopping second-hand?

A 30-something black man at home on the sofa, browsing on his phone, smiling at the camera
Does buying second-hand save money? (Alamy/PA)

A fifth of us plan to embrace bargains this year, according to new research


Buying preowned or refurbished items can be a great way to combat soaring prices – and research suggests one in five of us are choosing to buy second-hand this year.

If you’re prepared to hunt around, the savings can be significant.

Credit provider Vanquis recently carried out research looking at 200 listed items from second-hand online marketplace Vinted in March 2023, comparing the cost of preloved items with their recommended retail price (RRP).

Among the bargains, Vanquis says it spotted a North Face raincoat listed for £28, compared with a retail price of £205 – meaning a potential saving of £177 or 86%.

They said the findings indicated particularly big savings could be found when shopping for premium brands – around 70% on average across the sample of items looked at.

Vanquis also issued a survey of 2,000 people across the UK, and found that 20% plan to buy second-hand items this year.

Men were less likely to be inclined to shop second-hand than women, at 15% versus 25%.

Fiona Anderson, managing director of cards at Vanquis, says: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues to create a challenging economic environment, being mindful with money will now be embedded in many peoples’ way of living.

“The second-hand shopping trend is only likely to grow even more as a cost-conscious approach to spending is here to stay. Plus, it’s a sustainable way to shop.”

If you’re looking for tech rather than clothing, buying refurbished items can also help to keep costs down.

EBay has launched a refurbished mobile phone hub offering up to 50% off sought-after phones.

For some, this could be a good solution to counterbalance recent contract price increases and make it easier to take on cheaper Sim-only contract options.

It could also be handy if you’re looking for cheaper options for your child’s first phone.

Refurbished items sold by well-known brands such as Dyson are also available on eBay, for example, its popular Dyson Corrale hair straighter was priced on eBay at the time of writing at £359.99 – £40 or 10% less than the RRP of £399.99.

EBay also runs additional discount codes from time-to-time, so it may be possible to shave even more money off. Amazon Warehouse also offers customers the chance to buy used or “open box” products at a discounted price.

It has different categories, such as “used – like new”, through to “used – acceptable”, to help customers understand the condition of the item.

In general with refurbished items, it’s always worth checking any guarantee periods that come with them. And don’t forget to also factor in any shipping costs.

It’s also worth remembering that buying in a charity shop doesn’t always mean buying second-hand. Some retailers will donate stock, so keep an eye out as you could pick up new items at a fraction of the usual retail price.


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