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Study Reveals Clutter Epidemic Cause: "Low Sell-Esteem"
[March 19, 2019]

Study Reveals Clutter Epidemic Cause: "Low Sell-Esteem"

PALO ALTO, Calif., March 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As the 2019 spring-cleaning season kicks off Mercari, the selling app, released a new study showing American households have more than five billion items that are no longer used. Driving this epidemic of unused stuff is "low sell-esteem," the mistaken belief that we're not good at selling or that nobody wants to buy our stuff.

America's home clutter epidemic is compounded by "low sell-esteem," according to a new study from Mercari.

The accumulation of unused things in American closets, drawers and garages has reached a point that one in five Americans pays rent for self storage. America has about as many self-storage facilities as it has Starbucks, McDonald's and Subway locations combined.

Why don't Americans sell these billions of useful but unused things -- many in excellent condition or even brand new? According to Mercari, 65 percent of Americans suffer from "low sell-esteem" -- while our homes grow more cluttered, two-thirds of respondents expressed the belief that selling is too hard, takes too much time or is a hassle.

"Low sell-esteem is holding too many people back from confronting the epidemic of clutter. This is about much more than spring cleaning," said Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, founder, and Personal Finance Expert for Mercari. "Overcoming low sell-esteem isn't hard: just give selling a try. You'll see it's easier than ever with apps like Mercari that allow anyone to sell and earn some extra cash."

Low Sell-Esteem: Mistaken Beliefs

Selling apps like Mercari are enabling millions of Americans to unlock the value from their drawers, closets, garages nd self-storage units. Still, the 65 percent of us with low sell-esteem mistakenly believe that:

  • "Selling takes too long." Mercari is designed with first-time sellers in mind, so it's fast and easy. In fact, the average time required to create a Mercari listing is about three minutes. You take a few pics, add a description, set a price, and boom: your item is listed.
  • "Nobody wants to buy my stuff." Mercari sellers reach millions of buyers in all 50 states, so stuff really sells. In 2019 the average Mercari seller is making $135 per month. Mercari sellers earn more than sellers elsewhere, reporting 40% greater monthly sales than other marketplaces. 
  • "I don't like meetups with strangers." On Mercari everything ships, so there are no awkward meetups.

"Mercari is on a mission to make selling easier than buying – to show people everywhere that anyone can sell," said John Lagerling, Mercari U.S. CEO. "Our users say reducing clutter in their homes is the top reason they sell on Mercari. We want to help more Americans overcome low sell-esteem by showing them how easy it is to sell and get paid for the things they no longer use. Mercari envisions a future where all useful things get used."

Our Homes are Beyond Cluttered …

Other findings of the study include:

  • 50 percent of Americans say they feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in their homes, with the average American household having 42 items they're no longer using (that's more than 5.3 billion items). They estimate they could get $723 if they were to sell the items: as a nation, we've got more than $93 billion hiding around our homes.
  • Women report holding onto 35 percent more unused items than men do. Women said they had an average of 48 unused items in their homes, while men said they have 36 things lying around.
  • The most common unused items people hold onto are: 
  1. Clothing (currently on Mercari: more than 7 million listings)
  2. Books (currently on Mercari: more than 1 million listings)
  3. Shoes (currently on Mercari: more than 8 million listings)
  4. Home decorations (currently on Mercari: more than 2 million listings)
  5. Electronics (currently on Mercari: more than 15 million listings)

… Still, We Rationalize the Mess

  • The top reasons for Americans' low sell-esteem are:
  1. "I'm not really sure what the items are worth."
  2. "I don't have enough time to sell the items."
  3. "My items I'm no longer using probably aren't worth anything."
  4. "I don't like dealing with strangers in person."
  • Their issue is with selling – not buying – used items. Fifty-nine percent of study participants said they'd purchased second-hand items in the past year, while only 33 percent had sold a second-hand item. We're in a seller's market.

About Mercari

Mercari is the selling app. We make it super easy to sell (or buy) almost anything. We all have things we don't use, never used or simply outgrew. But that stuff still has value. Mercari gives you the power to simply sell it, ship it, and earn some cash for it. Fashion to toys. Sporting goods to electronics. All the brands you know and love.

Our mission is simple: to make selling easier than buying. And with more than 45 million downloads in the U.S. and 150,000 new listings every day, we're just getting started.

Survey Methodology

To collect feedback from American consumers, Mercari retained Honest Data to conduct an online survey taken from a demographically representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults over the age of 18 in March 2019.


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SOURCE Mercari

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