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The Web Is Killing off the 30 Year Old Car Boot Sale

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 a survey carried out by Preloved.

The world’s first car boot sale was held in Kent back 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 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
  • just 6% said they’d been to one so far this year
  • 5% said they’d sold at a car boot sale in the last 3 years
  • to 21% who said they’d sold online in the last 3 years.

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.”

Adele Gardner

Adele Gardner

Creative Writer

Adele is a creative writer for Preloved. She loves literature, travelling, baked goods and is always hunting for new music.