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10 ways the new economy will look different

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3 EBAY AMERICA

One quality that almost by definition reflects value is the state of being second-hand. And in the economy to come, the sale of used goods may increase as secondary markets surge in importance. This means Goodwill and Value Village will become more and more peoples' idea of places to shop for vintage fashion. People who previously preferred new cars now might buy used.

At Twice as Nice, a consignment shop in downtown Tuscaloosa, Ala., Leslie Stallings stares up at wedding dresses hanging from the ceiling. She and her mother, Debbie Stallings, drove nearly an hour in torrential rain to find the perfect dress at a reasonable price. The dress she really likes, the one she can imagine shimmering in the candlelight as she says her vows, is $1,200 at a local bridal boutique. This one is only $300. Still, they decide to keep looking.

One reason eBay and similar outlets will take on greater importance in the future is the nervousness of consumers. About one-third of US residents feel at immediate risk of downward mobility. One-third know someone else who is threatened. One-third is fairly secure but understand conspicuous consumption at the moment seems like bad manners.

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