New research released by Amazon highlights how the British public are now a nation of second-hand bargain hunters. More than half (53%) say they enjoy hunting for deals on second-hand items, with one third (34%) saying they always seek second-hand or refurbished offers first.

The study also found 93% of people surveyed check ‘used’ prices against new when shopping online, with 34% refusing to pay full price for anything, be it clothing, tech or homeware. This openness to embracing quality used and refurbished products is likely to be reflected in the nation’s Christmas stockings this festive season, with one in three people (34%) saying they would gift a quality second-hand item to a loved one – up from 20% who said they would be happy to do so last year.

Second-hand shopping is growing, while customers struggle with repairs

Despite enthusiasm for buying second-hand and refurbished items, only one in five (22%) surveyed would mend an appliance if it breaks. Instead of fixing it, 19% of adults surveyed say they throw away items such as toasters and kettles when they break, while 36% say they recycle them. The most common reasons for giving up on a repair were not knowing where to start and worrying that attempts to repair something would in fact make it worse.

Shop quality returned, refurbished and open-box items and bag big discounts at a new physical store in London.

How customers can shop second-hand bargains on Amazon

Amazon 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’s sales of second-hand goods in the UK increased by more than 15% compared to the same period last year. By looking on Amazon Second Chance, customers can find ways to shop for quality returned and refurbished products, as well as find out how to repair, recycle, and trade in electronics beyond home repair

Shoppers can bag bargains with up to 50% savings compared to recommended retail prices online and, for a limited time only, in person too at the new Second Chance Store in Central London. Open until 12 December, the store also offers customers the chance to bring in broken home tech and laptops to its Repairs Zone for free advice and workshops on fixing them. 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.

“Some of the most popular products that people search for on Amazon are also available as quality second-hand items. 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.” said Sam Littlejohn, Head of Returns and Repairs, Amazon Europe.

Kimberly Wyatt packs a paper bag at the Second Chance Store.
Kimberly Wyatt, a lifelong devotee to second-hand shopping, welcomed the first visitors to Amazon’s Second Chance Store at the Brunswick Centre, central London.

Generational attitudes to pre-loved shopping

Gen Z – those born after 1996 – are the ones 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, according to the survey. More than four in 10 (44%) surveyed typically shop pre-loved first, but fewer than one in three (30%) would repair a broken appliance.

Millennial shoppers – age 27 to 42 – are the most open to learning how to repair a broken tech item, with almost half (45%) surveyed saying they have visited a “repairs café” in the past 12 months. Nearly three quarters (72%) say they have successfully followed a DIY repairs video on YouTube.

The research also reveals that three in 10 Generation X shoppers – aged between 41 and 56 – look for second-hand deals first, but 27% admitted they wouldn’t trust themselves to do a ‘DIY repair’ at home, according to the research.

Baby Boomers surveyed are 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. Cutting costs is the biggest reason all age groups ‘bargain hunt’, with 87% believing it’s good to save money when shopping, even if they can afford to pay full price. 59% also feel it’s important to buy pre-loved, or to extend a product’s life, for the planet.

Amazon’s Second Chance Store

Customers can visit the Second Chance Store, stocked with quality returns from Amazon up until 12 December, with all sales proceeds going to Barnardo’s. Amazon also offers quality returned products year-round online at Amazon Second Chance, which also provides customers with information about product repair, recycling and trade-in for electronics. Purchases are backed by Amazon’s 30-day return policy and award-winning customer service.

Read more about Amazon's commitment to sustainability.