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Steptoe and Son 2.0?

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Chris Vallance | 04:30 UK time, Saturday, 18 October 2008

We're mapping what's hurting you during the credit crunch, and already food prices and utility bills look like they are causing iPM listeners considerable pain.

But as we all worry about the financial future, new data from web analysis firm Hitwise suggests that we are increasingly looking for second hand bargains online.

Hear Robin Goad of Hitwise on the iPM podcast

The firm found that UK searches for "second hand" had increased 22% year on year


They also found traffic to classifieds websites was up 47% year on year. And web users weren't just looking to buy second hand, visits to Freecycle were up 35%

Adam Paul who moderates a Freecycle group in London told iPM, "in the last 8 months one of the groups in north London has reported a doubling of membership from 2000 to 4000 members"

has also seen consumer behaviour change. Julia Hutton-Potts head of consumer PR for Ebay said "spikes " in purchases for some goods suggested cash strapped consumers were increasingly mending-and-make-do, "we've seen a 40% increase in the sale of sewing machines in the last 3 months" and purchases also indicate that food prices rises may be weighing on web-shoppers minds "we've seen a 30% increase in the sale of bread makers"

Hutton-Potts said they'd also seen a 15% rise in the past year in so-called "neutral shopping" where people sell old possessions to buy new goods.

But if online shoppers are moving to second-hand, others are finding it hard even to afford previously owned products. Jason Mohr left a job in the city to found Junk collection firm AnyJunk. The feedback they'd had from second hand dealers suggested that those on low incomes were cutting back, "despite what you see on the web the vast majority of second hand goods are brought by people on low incomes". In Mohr's view they're a group hit hard by the crunch, he's observed that, "second hand resellers are selling less."

There's more on the podcast. In that we hear the Managing Director of the peer-to-peer lending site Zopa explain how lending that bypasses the banks has proved increasingly popular. There's an extended version of that interview in the player below.

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