eBay UK removes sellers' fees and introduces AI-powered listings to encourage clothing reuse

The online marketplace has made it free to buy and sell used clothing and introduced new features to make the process easier.

Online marketplace, eBay UK, hopes the initiative will enable the British public to “put more cash in their pockets while supporting circular fashion”.

Notification on eBay phone appFrom this week, sellers' fees will be removed for all pre-worn clothing items, except for sneakers, watches, handbags and jewellery. The change applies to existing listings, even if they were uploaded to the site before 8 April.

Alongside fee removal, the e-commerce site has introduced a new AI feature that aims to generate attention-grabbing item descriptions and save users time when listing new products. Customised feeds and fashion visual searches will also help shoppers find their targeted items quickly.

Additionally, eBay Live - an ‘interactive livestream shopping experience’ that allows users to attend live auctions and buy in real time - will be piloted in the UK in the coming weeks. According to the marketplace, the feature has been successful in the US, with hundreds of live events being hosted every week.

£16.3 billion of untapped fashion

Recent consumer research conducted by eBay reveals that 70 per cent of people in the UK wear 50 per cent or less of their wardrobe on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, the vast majority (92 per cent) say they have over one item of clothing they haven’t worn in the last 12 months.

Despite this, only 25 per cent of people in the UK sell their unwanted clothes and, according to eBay, the average consumer is holding onto over £400 worth of clothing that they don’t wear. As a result, it is estimated that £16.3 billion worth of unworn clothing is sitting in UK wardrobes.

This data comes as the Textile Recycling Association warns of potential collapse in the UK textile recycling industry as processing plants reach full capacity.

Kirsty Keoghan, General Manager of Global Fashion for eBay, commented on the company’s recent changes: “Free fashion selling has come at the right time for a nation sitting on billions of pounds worth of unwanted clothes.”

“We know selling clothes can sometimes feel like a chore, so free selling and new updates like new AI-powered listings will help more of us to sell clothes easily – putting more cash in pockets. By encouraging more people to buy and sell pre-loved clothing, we’ll keep more clothes out of landfill as we collectively enable a circular economy for fashion.”

Ebay estimates that in 2023, through the sale of ‘pre-loved fashion’, the company prevented over 1.6 million kilograms of waste going to landfill. It also claims that five pre-worn dresses, two pairs of jeans and eight tops are sold on eBay in the UK every minute.

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