Whether you call it vintage, antique, or pre-owned, resale furniture has several practical and environmental benefits. Especially now, when supply chain issues are responsible for neverending delays and import fees and freight charges are soaring.
The resale industry is skyrocketing. Consumers’ spending habits have evolved, including the appetite for resale across every category. In 2020, 48% of Americans bought an item through resale.
3 Key Factors Moved Buyers Towards Resale
E-Commerce + Recommerce = Explosive Growth In Home Furnishings
Increased shopper comfort with buying furniture online and growing consumer appreciation for resale have translated into explosive growth for digital home furnishings recommerce platforms.
Among Millennial and Gen Z consumers, 31% report that the pandemic increased their interest in buying used, vintage, or antique furniture online.
Buying and selling secondhand extends the lives of your favourite pieces and keeps them in circulation longer.
Environmental Benefits Meet Availability
“Fast furniture” refers to mass-produced furniture that is made quickly, inexpensively, and often overseas. Most pieces are [of] poor quality and are designed to last only a few years before ending up in the landfill. Though low priced, fast furniture comes at a high environmental cost.
Why Resale Furniture is the More Sustainable Choice
Resale is at the core of the “circular economy”―the reusing, refurbishing, repairing, and reselling of items. Reselling extends an item’s life, thereby minimising waste and avoiding the creation of something new, with all its associated environmental impacts.
If more consumers purchase resale goods through the circular economy, by 2030 primary material consumption could be cut by 32%.
Globally, shoppers have realized the environmental benefits of resale. [And] 70% of all consumers agree that addressing climate change is more important now than ever.
The Furniture Supply Chain Snarl
Pre-COVID, the furniture industry already had a “long lead time” challenge. Purchases of newly made items could routinely take up to 8-12 weeks to arrive.
With the impact of COVID combined with extreme weather conditions, the lead time problem was exacerbated exponentially. The furniture supply chain worldwide suffered major disruptions due to:
- Factory closures
- Material shortages
- Transportation limitations
- Rising material, labour, and transportation costs
While lead times in the furniture industry are getting ever longer, consumers’ expectations for speedy delivery are also increasing, due to overnight shipping experiences in other categories.
Resale Furniture’s Availability Advantage
Pre-owned furniture offers the critical benefit of availability because:
- It already exists and is ready to ship. These items aren’t subject to material or production delays;
- It can be sourced domestically (and even locally) and distributed via a point-to-point model, reducing shipping times and minimising the environmental impact of transportation.
Vintage Is The Future
Current trends indicate that furniture resale will continue to grow exponentially.
Not only are more Americans interested in reselling their furniture, but Millennial and Gen Z consumers are becoming especially enthusiastic about it as they come into homeownership and furnish their own spaces.
[There’s another great benefit to buying vintage]: these well-known names can retain much of their original value and may even provide a profit over time.
5 Ways To Reduce Your Furniture Footprint
Choose previously owned products over new. You’re not only making a stylish statement, but a practical and eco-conscious one too.
If you do choose to buy new products, make quality and longevity a priority.
Resell pieces when you’re ready to move on and contribute to the circular economy.
Shop local when possible and choose brands with carbon neutral shipping to reduce the impact of transportation methods on the environment.
Repair or reupholster your pieces instead of disposing of them. It extends the life of your items and minimizes environmental impacts.
All images, graphs, and quoted text excerpted from The Chairish 2021 Home Furnishings Resale Report.