Let the holiday (re)sales begin!

Shoppers are getting ready to ring in the holiday season. This year holiday shoppers are planning to spend on average $1,496 on gifts, travel, entertaining, and decorations. That’s a lot of gifts.

With the resale market growing 21x faster than the retail apparel market in the past three years,2 we wondered if holiday shoppers would be willing to gift a used item. We found that just over a quarter (27 percent) of holiday shoppers plan to gift resale items this holiday season, but mostly to those who are near and dear.3

Shoppers’ main reason for gifting resale items is to save money (50 percent), while others are looking to afford a luxury or premium brand (24 percent). Resale this holiday season is also an opportunity to be more sustainability-focused for some (13 percent).

The most popular pre-owned item to gift was clothing and apparel, followed by electronics and accessories, while nearly a quarter (24 percent) were unsure which used item(s) they were going to gift. The opportunity to shop resale adds to the holiday treasure hunt.

Resale also appears to be a generational thing. The vast majority of Gen Z embraces the opportunity to recycle or upcycle a gift, while Boomers and seniors, not so much. And, while not as bullish as Gen Z, two out of five Millennials are planning to gift a resale item this holiday.


Is it better to give than to receive? Would you want to receive a resale gift? One in four say they would be delighted. Nearly half say they would neither be disappointed nor delighted. But nearly a third (30 percent) say they would be somewhat to very disappointed to receive a resale gift. Maybe that’s why folks are playing it safer with those near and dear and whom they know well when it comes to their resale gifts.

As for the seven out of 10 who say they won’t be giving resale gifts this year, their top three reasons are to avoid:

  • The appearance of being cheap
  • Concerns about the item’s condition
  • Not finding exactly what they want

That said, the overall opportunity to participate in the fast-growing resale trend is not lost on several large retailers, who have partnered with major resale sites to offer a physical presence in the resale market. By some estimates, the resale market will be $23 billion in three years.4 That’s hard to ignore.

We will see if the resale market becomes a holiday tradition for some. In the meantime, it’s not the gift, but the thought that counts. We’ll be watching what people think.

This charticle is authored by Stephen Rogers.


3 Deloitte surveyed 1,200 adults (age 18+) in October and November 2019. The survey was conducted online by an independent research company and has a margin of error of +/- three percentage points.

View additional information on the 2019 Deloitte holiday retail survey.

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