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Ikea Tests Appetite for Secondhand Market in the US

Secondhand Sales Surge Among Younger Consumers

Furniture retailer Ikea is testing a furniture buyback and resale program in the US, aiming to capitalize on younger consumers’ affinity for secondhand goods. Ikea is among the national retailers offering greener products to appeal to shoppers who want to do their part to protect the environment. Gap (GPS), Macy’s (M), Madewell, and other retailers are partnering with ThreadUp to resell clothing and test the market for secondhand apparel and accessories.

A recent survey of Gen Z shoppers found that 47% of teens have bought secondhand merchandise and 55% have sold it. Most of the interest has been for used clothing but Ikea is betting that secondhand furniture will also be a hit.

Ikea to Expand After Test

Ikea is launching a pilot program in its Philadelphia-area store later this month. If it is successful, Ikea wants to expand the program to other markets. Customers who are part of the retailer’s loyalty program can sell their used Ikea furniture and receive a store credit in exchange. Ikea will resell the items in its “as-is” section of the store, which is home to discounted items. The loyalty program is free and open to all customers.

The amount of store credit consumers will receive for fully assembled furniture will depend on the products’ condition, age, and use case. Some items, including dressers, will not be part of the program.

Secondhand Initiative Is Part of Ikea’s Carbon-Positive Plans

Ikea already has furniture buyback programs in several other countries including the UK, France, and Canada. This is part of the company’s efforts to be carbon-positive by 2030. Late in 2019, Ikea’s parent company, Inter Ikea Group, announced plans to invest €200 million to meet its carbon-positive goals.

Launching a furniture buyback program in the US will not be without challenges. A big one is how customers will get the furniture to the store. Ikea is not covering the cost to transport the fully assembled items, which could prevent some consumers from participating. It also has to compete with the likes of Craigslist and LetGo, which make it easy to sell used furniture locally.

Ikea faces hurdles on its path to becoming carbon-positive. It will be interesting to see if a furniture buyback program takes off and helps the retailer achieve its goals.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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