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Parents Turn to Resale as Financial Stress Levels Spike

With roles and routines shaken up at home, parents are experiencing several new challenges affecting their shopping behaviors. 

OfferUp, a mobile marketplace in the U.S. for local buyers and sellers, recently released the findings from its 2020 Recommerce Report: Parents & Kids. The report, published in partnership with data analytics and consulting firm GlobalData, includes new market research and the results of two nationwide surveys of parents.

Here’s a closer look at how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted families across the nation:

Coronavirus is Proving to Be the Ultimate Stress Test for Parents 

Elevated levels of financial and social stress has always been common among parents, and survey findings reveal these pressures have only intensified as a result of Covid-19. With roles and routines shaken up at home, parents are experiencing several new challenges, including finding ways to entertain and educate their children.

  • 66 percent of parents are more worried about their finances now than before the start of the pandemic
  • 63 percent of parents are experiencing more parenting stress compared to before the pandemic
  • 70 percent of parents say finding ways to keep their children entertained is currently the most challenging part of parenting
  • 61 percent of parents report the most challenging part of parenting is educating their children at home

Interestingly, despite increased financial concerns, the unique challenges parents are facing have resulted in additional spending:

  • 64 percent of parents have purchased baby and kids items as a direct result of Covid-19 challenges
  • 80 percent of parents admit to buying an item to help keep their children entertained
  • 61 percent of parents have purchased an item to support their kids’ at-home education

Parents are Turning to Online Resellers to Save Money 

When it comes to where parents are shopping, more than half (60 percent) say the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted where they buy baby and kids gear. Many are choosing to shop on local online marketplaces, such as OfferUp, to meet their families’ needs.

As a result, OfferUp reports a significant increase in searches for puzzles (+1,100 percent), swimming pools (+450 percent), water tables (+370 percent), swing sets (+200 percent) and playgrounds (+160 percent).

OfferUp has also noticed:

  • A 3x increase in people buying video games, and a 155 percent increase in keyword searches containing Nintendo Switch
  • A 100 percent increase in average weekly shopping buying interest in the Toys and Games category compared to the first 45 days of 2020
  • A nearly 100 percent increase in buyers using nationwide shipping as community members practice social distancing

Of the parents who have purchased items on local online resellers in the past month:

  • 42 percent noted sustainability as the main reason
  • 39 percent indicated it was to help support local economies
  • 38 percent chose to shop resale because it is less expensive.

However, the desire to help others extends beyond shoppers engaging in recommerce. Universally, parents and neighbors are deeply invested in their community and are finding new ways to support each other during this time of crisis. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, 39 percent of parents have donated or given away baby and kids products to another parent or family.

The Rise of Recommerce is Part of a Broader Shift

According to the report, the baby and kids recommerce market is poised for continued growth and projected to hit $5.6 billion by 2024, more than doubling from 2019. This makes it the fastest-growing segment of the overall baby and kids market, placing it well on track to outpace retail.

Survey data also reveals that the rise of recommerce is part of a broader shift in where parents are shopping for children’s products year-round and signals an increased interest from parents to seek out and purchase secondhand products for their kids.

In 2019:

  • 83 percent of all parents reported using at least one secondhand product for their kids
  • 65 percent of parents chose to buy second hand products to save money
  • Parents who welcomed their second child in 2019 saved $653M by using secondhand and hand-me-downs rather than purchasing new products
  • One in five parents named sustainability as a driving factor for using secondhand items
  • 61 percent of parents indicated they would welcome a secondhand gift for their child

Parents Show Stronger Connection to Sustainability and Recycling

OfferUp’s Recommerce Report also sheds light on parents’ desires to engage in more sustainable purchasing decisions and takes a broader look at how this impacts their buying choices.

  • 51 percent of parents with kids under 12 are willing to spend more on sustainable products; this is 11 percent more than non-parents
  • 57 percent of parents with kids under 12 prefer to recycle and reuse products they no longer need rather than throw them away; this is 21 percent higher than non-parents
  • 40 percent of parents try to buy environmentally friendly kids products, even if it’s more inconvenient

However, one in ten parents admits to throwing away brand new, never-used items. OfferUp found that parents discarded more than 2.3 million new and gently used baby and kids items in 2019. If parents resold these items instead of throwing them away, they could have collectively earned more than $84 million.

View the entire 2020 OfferUp Recommerce Report: Parents & Kids here.


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