Royal Mail: “Britain is a side hustle nation” – selling goods online
A poll of 3,000 UK adults, commissioned by Royal Mail Parcel Collect, found that two thirds love trading their second-hand wares online and send or receive an average of seven parcels per month, while a quarter claim selling online is their main source of income.
In a statement issued today (3 August), Royal Mail said that: ‘The love for small business is real, with 47% saying they support side hustlers and independent businesses more than any other online retailer.’
Clothes, books and electronics are the most popular products shoppers and sellers are exchanging across the UK.
Of those who sell, just under half feel a sense of achievement when they ship a parcel off to its new home. While 36% of buyers claim it puts a spring in their step when their parcel arrives, with 32% describing a parcel delivery as the “highlight” of their day.
Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer for Royal Mail Parcel Collect, which carried out the study to celebrate surpassing six million items being collected since its launch in 2020, said: “It’s wonderful to see the nation’s entrepreneurship blossom and grow.
“We are delighted to play a pivotal role in making that possible, supporting the nation’s small businesses and side hustlers to distribute their precious cargo up and down the country, safely and reliably, from doorstep to doorstep.
“We are proud to be an enabler of everyday people, looking to pursue their dreams amid the cost-of-living crisis. We aspire to make our services as convenient as possible so everyone can manage their business from home, removing the need to trek heavy parcels to the local drop off point whenever they make a deserved sale.”
The study also found that eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Etsy were the online marketplaces that respondents use most frequently, with one in five using Vinted.
The top reasons given for using online platforms like these are saving money (42%), enjoying the thrill of hunting down the perfect item (35%), allowing someone else to enjoy something they no longer need (35%) and giving items a new lease of life (31%).
Environmental factors also play a role, with a third using online marketplaces because it’s better for the environment, while 28% want to set a good example to their kids about buying and selling pre-loved items, rather than buying new.
Furthermore, 41% of those polled said they plan to develop their “side hustle” into their main source of income. The over 65s are most likely to have plans already in place (60%), with Londoners leading on this charge (58%) versus 6% in East Anglia.
Over a quarter (29%) of those polled said they already have their parcel collected from home by a delivery company (41% for 18–24-year-olds) and 55% are likely to consider using Parcel Collect, showing the growth potential of Parcel Collect.
Commenting on the poll results, Holly Tucker founder of notonthehighstreet and Holly & Co, said: “It’s impressive to see how entrepreneurial we are as a nation and how many of us are selling and sending parcels across the UK, from handmade wares through to second-hand goods.
“With many of us juggling side-hustles and full-time jobs, it’s important to be efficient with our time when it comes to running our ‘shops’, tapping into the tools and services available to support us.”