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Full cart, empty heart: 5 million Aussies regret a pandemic purchase

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Millions of Australians regret a purchase they made during lockdown last year, according to new research by Finder.

A new nationally representative survey of 1,013 respondents revealed 1 in 4 (26%) Aussies – equivalent to 5 million people – regret a purchase they made during the pandemic.

The research shows generation Z had the most regrets, with a staggering 54% of pandemic shoppers under 25 having buyer's remorse. Only 5% of baby boomers could relate.

Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder, said online shopping had been a popular escape for many.

"While millions of Australians were stuck in lockdown with simple pleasures like trips to the shops taken away, online shopping was an easy fix.

"However, what was once an occasional treat for some turned into a more regular habit.

"Many of us splurged on things we didn't need or couldn't afford and are now regretting that decision."

The items Australians are feeling most guilty about include clothing (8%), used cars (7%), bicycles (5%) and even property (4%).

The research found men (28%) are slightly more likely than women (25%) to experience regret about a pandemic purchase.

Nearly 1 in 10 men (9%) regretted buying a second-hand car during the pandemic, compared to only 4% of women.

Browne said online marketplaces are a great starting point for selling the things you no longer need.

"Lots of people have been left to deal with all kinds of things they don't need or can't afford.

"Selling items online is a great way to make some of your money back. Most online marketplaces will let you list your items for free."

Data from Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, a survey of over 28,000 respondents, shows the most popular way Aussies earn extra income is by selling second-hand goods online through sites like eBay and Gumtree.

Have you purchased anything during the pandemic that you regret?
Clothing & footwear8%
Used car7%
Home gym equipment4%
Beauty products4%
Kitchen appliances3%
Sporting equipment3%
Hot Tub2%
Home office equipment2%
Art tools2%
No, I haven't purchased anything I regret74%
Source: Finder survey of 1,013 respondents, December 2021

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