How to resell unwanted Christmas presents

It happens every year; despite creating a painstakingly specific Christmas list of gifts for Santa to drop off, you still end up with weird products that you would never have chosen for yourself.

Last year, well-meaning British shoppers spent £1bn on unwanted gifts, according to VoucherCodes – and out of the 2,000 participants who took part in the study, 71% said they would never use the present.

Research by the resale site Shpock and YouGov has also just revealed that one out of seven Brits will sell an unwanted gift this year.

Sure, we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but unless it’s a very personal or handmade item (like a scarf knitted by your gran) why not give someone else the chance to enjoy it, instead of letting it gather dust in the back of your closet?

As a rule of thumb, gift-giving etiquette dictates that it is not polite to ask someone for a receipt so that you can return the item for a refund or store credit – but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make money from it.

Sell, swap or auction the gift on an online resale site

Resale sites have gained a lot of popularity in recent years; some focus purely on fashion, while others offer users the chance to flog accessories, tech goods, interiors or random bits (like that wine glass set you were gifted, even though you don’t drink wine).

First, here is a basic guide to selling pretty much anything online.

Get your money’s worth by doing your research before putting the gift up for sale, and find out how others have priced similar items, so that you don’t price yours too low.

It’s also worth looking at how others have titled their products, to make sure yours appears in searches.

Give the same care and attention to your shopping profile as you would to a dating profile – in other words, upload Insta-worthy photos that will make buyers fall in love with your product. It takes more time, but that extra bit of flair could add several pounds to the price tag, especially if it’s being auctioned off.

A detailed product description also goes a long way.

Be responsive – if someone sends a question about your product, aim to answer them sooner rather than later, as buyers can be very fickle and might move on to something else.

Account for postage; look up how much it will cost you to send a pair of shoes versus a mobile phone or a heavy blanket through Royal Mail or other carriers who will handle the delivery. And remember, if your item has a value over £20, the postage will likely be higher.

Finally, look at how much each site or app will charge you for selling products with them. Some fees are higher than others, but depending on what you’re trying to push, a higher fee may be worth it.

Where to sell high street or vintage fashion

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to fashion resale.

Depop (clothing, accessories, shoes, lingerie, books, beauty) is popular with millennials and Gen Z, with 13million users as of June this year, according to TechCrunch. You can search under specific categories, like ‘Under £50’ or ‘Sustainable’, as well as use hashtags to end up in searches – so do add some in the product description.

Another option is to swap items with other users.

If you’re selling vintage clothing, head to Vinted, which sells both men’s and women’s clothing, as well as has a children’s section. Vinted doesn’t charge sellers – the fee for using the service comes out of the buyer’s pocket, so that’s a plus.

Top tip: scrolling through feeds on these apps is kind of like scrolling through Instagram, meaning you should make your profile and products stand out, but don’t ‘try’ too hard.

Be cool.

Where to sell luxury fashion and accessories

Don’t fancy the designer wallet that your parents got you but don’t have the heart to tell them?

For luxury goods, take a look at Rebelle, Vestiaire Collective, The RealReal or High Fashion Society, among others, where you can sell clothing, accessories, shoes and bags, so long as they are made by a reputable designer. Some of the sites focus on specific areas, such as Bagista, which only sells luxury bags.

Quality is key, so a new item from a decent luxury brand will likely do well.

Just don’t expect to sell your H&M jumper or Zara boots here.

Where to sell everything else

Of course, no resale list is complete without the behemoth of resale sites: eBay.

From electronics to cars, fashion to kitchen goods and even false teeth: you can sell pretty much anything here.

You have to create an account and there is a basic listing fee for all sales, which can go up depending on how much you get for your product.

Start an auction for one, three, five, seven or 10 days – or alternatively, pop it up for longer at a set price.

Photos are important, but you don’t need the same pizzazz on eBay as other sites – just make sure the buyer can see everything they need to.

Next on the big bad list of resale is Gumtree: sell Christmas decorations, tools, tickets for events and even pets.

Though we’re pretty sure reselling a puppy that someone gave you for Christmas is pretty high on Santa’s naughty list (on the flipside, if you’re buying a dog from a resale site, make sure it’s not from a dodgy puppy farm).

Create a Gumtree account, post an ad and wait for someone to snap up your unwanted goodies.

New kid on the block is Shpock, which is like an updated version of Gumtree, but with more of a ‘locals’ vibe. You can sell almost anything and there’s an option to meet up with sellers to drop off goods, instead of spending money on postage.

Note: if you decide to do meet up with a buyer, be safe. Make the drop-off in a public place or if it’s something bigger, like furniture, take a friend with you to deliver it.

If that’s not possible, at the very least text the name and address of the person you’re meeting to a mate, partner or family member, and organise a call so that they can check in and make sure everything went smoothly.

Sell your Christmas loot at a car boot sale

For those who prefer to haggle in person, there’s always the trusted car boot sale.

It’s not really worth the hassle if you’re only selling one product – and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a market that will let you hire a stall.

However, if Santa was very generous and brought you 10 gifts that all ended up being rubbish, it’s a good option.

Alternatively, this might be the perfect time to look around the house and see if there are other items that are taking up unnecessary space. Or partner with a few friends, get a stall together and share the profits of the sales.

To find a monthly or weekly car boot sale, have a look through Car Boot Junction’s directory. It’s also worth doing a quick search online to see if there are pop-up markets coming to your area soon.

Bear in mind that car boots tend to have certain themes. Just like resale sites, do a bit of research to find out which one is most suitable for what you’d like to sell.

Top tip: Battersea Boot in south London has been around for two decades. It takes place every Sunday, with a few date exceptions, and draws in quite the crowd.

Alternatively, for something more low-key but with that hipster vibe, try the Princess May School car boot in Dalston.

If you can’t sell it, donate it to someone in need

OK, so you’ve tried everything but the product isn’t going anywhere.

If you don’t have enough patience to wait around for a buyer and you’re not in desperate need of a few extra pounds, why not donate your goodies to someone who does needs them?

Swing by a food bank or your local charity shop, pop them into a Traid donation bank or contact the British Heart Foundation, among other charities, who will collect your products for free.

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