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A study by free classified site of 3,108 members of the public has found that more and more Brits are turning away from the open air car boot to selling online

Visits to traditional car boot sales have fallen by 65% in the last 3 years, as more Brits have taken to using the internet to sell clutter and find bargains, according to the UK’s leading free second hand site.

The world’s first car boot sale was held in Kent in 1980. For years, car boot sales have been a great way of selling clutter in an organised way, whilst also giving Brits the chance to find a bargain.

However, for the past three years, attendance of car boot sales has been in steady decline, with the advent of second hand websites that enable you to buy and sell from the comfort of your home.

A study by free classified site of 3,108 members of the public has found that more and more Brits are turning away from the open air car boot to selling online.

17% of the respondents said they attended a car boot sales 3 years ago, whereas just 6% said they’d been to one in the last year. 5% said they’d sold at a car boot sale in the last 3 years. Second hand selling online has grown over the last 3 years in comparison, where 12% of people had sold second hand in 2006 to 21% this year.

When asked “Would you prefer to sell online or at a car boot sale?” 92% of the public said they’d prefer to sell online. Even older participants, who may have been expected to be more pro-offline answered that selling online was their preferred method – 82% of 50+ respondents said they’d rather sell unwanted items on the internet.

Founder of Preloved, Ian Buzer believes there are a number of reasons car boot attendance is down,

“The increase in popularity of second hand websites such as eBay and Preloved show yet another way the internet has revolutionised the way we live our lives.

“Not only does the web offer a better alternative to standing out in the cold all day by giving you the opportunity to leave your listing and come back to responses later, sites such as ours allow you to list your items for free, instead of paying a pitching fee. This has probably marked the beginning of the end of the car boot which is unfortunate given that for 25 years or so, car boot sales have defined the fun, bartering nature of Britons.

“Preloved is hoping to inject some of the fun back into the process of buying and selling online by bringing together buyers and sellers in a local area. In doing so we aim to provide a safer, friendlier experience than sites like eBay and we have received a number of emails from members saying they found not only a bargain but also a new friend.”

Preloved has a community of over 2 million unique users per month from all across the UK. 8 in 10 sellers can expect a response in under a week from the classified site – site stats show that 51% of advertisers have been receiving a response to their ad within 4 days, and 81% have been receiving a response within 7 days.

Currently over quarter of a million items are listed on Preloved, including 74,000 cars, 4,600 wedding dresses, 3,100 prams, 850 electric guitars, 50 canoes and 1 moose head made from papier mache.


We have many case studies of Brits who have used the site to make money from unwanted items, as well as people addicted to buying second hand.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please feel free to contact Rich Leigh, 10 Yetis Public Relations Agency on 01452 348 211 or

Notes to editors
Preloved was founded in 1998 and has grown to become one of the largest classified ads sites in the UK, with hundreds of thousands of second hand items for sale as well as thousands of product reviews and a highly populated and active forum.

The site prides itself on the fact that all private ads are completely free to post including a photo, with absolutely no listing fees, no selling fees and no catches, giving sellers and credit-crunched Brits a free and simple way of clearing their clutter. Popular sections on the site include; but are not limited to, baby clothes and equipment, children’s toys, furniture, vehicles, caravans and wedding dresses.

Free membership to the site gives users the ability to list items for sale, participate in forum activity and respond to ads that are over 10 days old, whilst full membership costs just £5 for a year and allows users to respond to ads the minute they are posted, ensuring they get first refusal on the best deals.

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