$76.3 Billion Opportunity for Side Hustlers in 2023

by posted in MAKE MONEY, Passive Income Ideas, Remote Job Opportunities, Side Hustle Ideas

According to a survey by commerce company Mercari, 2.9 billion items were thrown away or tossed in the recycling bin in the United States in 2022. In monetary terms, this equals $76.3 billion of discarded items that would have otherwise been fit for sale or use.

The same survey reveals that 82% of Americans purchased a second-hand item in the last 12 months, and 89.2% expect to buy a pre-owned item in the next 12 months, highlighting an opportunity for side hustlers to create an online business and work from anywhere

Reselling Items To Make Money

The report by Mercari reveals that American households are sitting on 21.1 billion unused items worth $560 billion, with about 161 articles per household. Books make up the most significant proportion of new things, followed by footwear and women’s clothing. These categories will drive significant resale growth in the coming years.

The survey also reveals online sales are powering most of the resale growth and currently make up 43% of the resale market. These numbers highlight potential for those looking to make quick cash and those wanting to create a business in the second-hand and resale market.

Kids’ Stuff 

The used/second-hand items most in demand? The 2022 Reuse Report: Family Edition report forecasts the baby item market to grow 83% by 2030, with 53% of these sales expected to occur online. 

About 62% of parents purchased a second-hand kids’ or baby item in 2022. At the same time, 15% of parents also pay to store unused items. That points up the demand for used products and an opportunity to resell used items and make money doing it.

“My wife and I just had a baby four months ago,” says Jeff Neal of Critter Depot. “We don’t shop for new clothes or toys. Instead, we go to consignment shops to buy baby supplies. We typically save about 70% compared to spending on new items at Target or Walmart. These items include clothes, bouncers, and toys. You can also get strollers in good condition. We then plan on selling those items at the consignment store when our baby grows out of them.”

The top categories of unused kids’ items are toys, strollers, clothing, books, and furniture. Carter’s, Crocs, Kate Quinn, Cat & Jack, and Little Sleepies are the most popular brands.

Shopping Secondhand Clothing

The next category expected to grow the most by 2031 is apparel, both menswear and womenswear. 

While womenswear is already a popular niche with many businesses centered around reselling and renting women’s apparel, the Mercari report shows menswear as the second fastest-growing category at 14.5% with a resale value of $4.4 billion, making it an attractive option as well. 

Some of the most in-demand brands are Victoria’s Secret / PINK, Coach, Free People, Michael Kors, Lululemon Athletica for women, and Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Under Armour, and North Face for men. 

Used Goes Digital

A 137% increase in spending on electronics and communications items is also predicted. 

Carlos Eduardo, founder of test prep site ScoreBeyond, says, “I’m constantly mindful of expenses. Purchasing a used iPhone saved me a significant amount of money compared to buying a brand-new device. This financial flexibility enables me to allocate resources more efficiently, both within my personal life and for my company.” 

In fact, according to a market analysis conducted by Future Market Insights (FMI), the electronic equipment repair service market is expected to reach a net worth of $228.2 billion in 2032, up from $121.2 billion in 2022.

People interested in some extra income can look into side hustles centered around reselling and/or repairing electronics. Consumers like one-stop-shopping solutions that also help them save money.

Trending electronics brands include Apple, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and PlayStation.

Leisure Items

Leisure products like collectibles, books, musical instruments, sporting goods, games, and toys also have great resale potential for those looking to make extra cash.

Books are probably the best bet in this category, since they make up the most significant proportion of unused items, averaging 34.1 items per household. They’re also the most purchased second-hand category, with about 58% of U.S. resale consumers buying used books. 

“I recently stumbled upon a real treasure at my favorite second-hand bookstore,” says Jonathan Merry, Finance Expert at Moneyzine. “I found a Tom Bombadil storybook by J.R.R. Tolkien, featuring illustrations by Pauline Baynes, for just 25 cents. To my surprise, this book is in high demand online, selling for anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on its condition. While I have no intention of selling it, I was thrilled to discover such a valuable and rare edition.” 

Shoes for Sale

According to The Future Market Insights, the second-hand designer shoes market is expected to grow about 7.6% during the forecast period. It is anticipated to be valued at $947.7 million by 2033, making it a lucrative category to resell. 

Second-hand shoe buyers need to be cautious, however. It can be difficult to guarantee brand authenticity, leading shoppers to buy knock-offs at designer prices. Consumers should also be careful about pre-worn shoes, since they might be carrying a foot fungus that’s contagious. These shoes should always be pre-treated with an anti-fungal spray before being worn.

Where to Re-Sell and Buy Second-Hand?

One of the most popular platforms for reselling items is eBay. While you can sell in a lot of categories on eBay, it’s best to pick unique niches and collect the best items to sell. For example, many business owners need furniture and equipment for their shop, so that niche could be a lucrative one. It’s also environmentally-conscious. 

Anna Peterson, creator of Salon Route, explains, “In the salon business, where equipment like hairdryers and specialized chairs can be quite costly, opting for second-hand but high-quality items can be a smart choice. I recently bought a second-hand salon chair in excellent condition, thereby saving money and contributing to sustainability.” 

Besides eBay, Americans prefer using Facebook Marketplace for larger items, Craigslist for local sales, and Poshmark for clothes. There are also many niche-specific platforms available. 

“When selling second-hand items, including cars, I consistently turn to platforms like AutoTrader and Craigslist,” says Nikita Sherbina, co-founder and CEO of digital sign software company AIScreen. “These online platforms have a dedicated audience looking for used vehicles, and their search filters and communication features streamline the selling process, ensuring a hassle-free experience for both buyers and sellers.” 

Similarly, Eddie Perez, founder of music instruction site Musician Authority, shares, “When it comes to my regular practice of buying and selling second-hand musical instruments, I prefer using a blend of online platforms. Reverb is my trusted go-to marketplace for [used] musical gear.”

Other used marketplaces of note include Kijiji, Depop, and Better World Books. 

The Used Market Future

The U.S. second-hand market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Resale is projected to reach $188.5 billion, with 56% of Americans tagging second-hand purchases as a lifestyle choice.

Millennials do the most second-hand shopping, followed closely by Gen X and Gen Z.

Side hustlers can take advantage of the growing demand for second-hand items by buying and selling second-hand goods online or in person, running a consignment shop or thrift store, repairing and reselling second-hand goods, or creating upcycled products from second-hand materials.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


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