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Used goods going online over op shops

AAP logoAAP 19/09/2016 Megan Neil

Many Australians are choosing to sell their unwanted used goods online and keep the profit themselves rather than donate to charities and op shops.

Classified websites such as Gumtree and eBay are attracting an increasing share of the second-hand goods market, at the expense of op shops run by charities such as St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army.

"Sellers have, I guess, preferred to take that money and profit themselves rather than just simply donating it," IBISWorld analyst Tommy Wu said.

Mr Wu said the growing popularity of online shopping and the range of products available on auction websites had been taking revenue from second-hand goods stores.

"The online shopping websites such as eBay, Gumtree or those daily deals types, first of all have a bigger range of things that consumers can purchase and it's also not limited to geographic location or distance so they can purchase from interstate, internationally."

Volatile consumer sentiment and weak growth in wages and income have increased the appeal of second-hand goods to consumers, given their lower price.

But at the same time, Mr Wu said, at the opposite end of the market it had discouraged people from buying antiques.

"While with antiques the demand has fallen over the past five years, that has been balanced out in the growth in the used or the second-hand goods market."

IBISWorld estimates that Australia's antique and used goods retailers - the traditional bricks-and-mortar operators - have increased revenue by an annualised 2.2 per cent over the five years through 2015/16 to $2.6 billion.

The industry analysts predict annualised growth of two per cent over the next five years, to reach $2.9 billion.

Demand is likely to be driven by growth in the range of used goods available and mounting interest in antiques, an IBISWorld report said.

"The second-hand market is still growing but it's just that an increasing proportion of this has been taken by the online auctioneers and retailers," Mr Wu told AAP.

The second-hand economy has grown from being a niche market limited to antique sellers to a mainstream industry in Australia, IBISWorld said.

Research commissioned by Gumtree estimates that Australia's second-hand economy is potentially worth $40 billion, given 89 per cent of Australians have unwanted or unused goods worth an estimated $5,200 per household.

The rising popularity and convenience of auction websites has impacted the range of items available in used goods stores.

Their sourcing of products is irregular, Mr Wu said, whereas everything is available to an online consumer from stores across the world.

Mr Wu predicts that the number of antiques and used good businesses and their locations will fall over the next five years due to the rise of online shopping and the availability of a wider selection of goods.

But, he said, there wa still a place for the likes of Salvos stores in the industry.

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