Shoppers missing out on £6.5bn by being “too British to barter”

too British to barter

The typical British way of shopping around on online marketplaces may be costing more than it’s worth, with Brits potentially missing out on a collective £6.5 billion in savings each year.

According to a new study from online marketplace Gumtree, this was equivalent to £496.20 per person.

The research indicates it’s the Brits’ general awkwardness that’s potentially putting people off making the most of the range of items and recycling or upcycling opportunities on offer in online marketplaces.

Gumtree found that 61 per cent of research participants admitted they would rarely or never try to negotiate when meeting a seller, of which 41 per cent said it was because it would feel rude and 35 per cent because it would feel “inappropriate”.

Moreover, 67 per cent of people who preferred phoning when contacting the buyer/seller for the first time said they found the initial call to discuss the item awkward, while 34 per cent felt anxious when meeting, and 49 per cent worried about the buyer/seller not turning up.

On the other hand, 37 per cent dreaded the buyer trying to haggle on price and 12 per cent even worried about whether the other person was going to be too chatty.

What’s more, 27 per cent wouldn’t complain if they got home and found the item was faulty because it would just be too awkward.

The most common form of feeling after a transaction is complete is relief, with 51 per cent of survey participants indicating this.

However, 18 per cent of people have never used an online marketplace, of whom 29 per cent admitted it was because they preferred to use websites they’ve used before, a quarter worried about fraud, 18 per cent didn’t trust an item would be as described and one in 10 were nervous about meeting people to pick up the item.

A Gumtree spokesperson said: “As a nation, we’re becoming more aware of the benefits of online marketplaces, from the range of items on offer to the convenience of being able to pick up a rare find locally.

“But the increasingly anonymous nature of online buying and the fact we’re generally a well-mannered bunch, means we often find it too awkward to negotiate – or even raise the issue if an item isn’t up to scratch – when we have to meet individuals face-to-face.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with the How to Academy to help people become much more comfortable and confident throughout the whole buying and selling process.

“Online marketplaces open up a world of opportunity, be it making money out of something no longer needed, making big cost savings, or finding something loved that’s no longer on sale elsewhere.

“Our guide will help Brits avoid the awkwardness that could hold them back from the thrill of discovering a hidden gem or cashing in on their own attic equity.”

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