The National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) announced today the results of the NPA 2018 Trend Survey. The survey, which was conducted in spring 2019, focuses on industry trends as reported by pawnbroker members of the NPA for the 2018 calendar year.
One notable result indicated that 52 percent of pawnbrokers surveyed cited growth in their retail sales in 2018 as compared to the previous year. This trend of growth, of up to 25 percent, has been partially driven by pawnbrokers embracing online sales options. “American consumers are becoming accustomed to buying online, and this shift has moved pawnbrokers to adapt their brick and mortar retail model. Pawnbrokers are utilizing more online sales platforms, as well as engaging customers via social media as an advertising option,” said Tim Collier, pawnbroker and NPA President.
Pawnbrokers report that online sales either increased or stayed the same in 2018. Almost three quarters of the pawnbrokers surveyed use eBay to sell online. Other websites reportedly used for online sales are Craigslist, Buya, and OfferUp. 85 percent of pawnbrokers operate a website and report using social media for marketing – including Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube – with over 80 percent of pawnbrokers using Facebook. 19 percent of pawnbrokers surveyed don’t engage in online sales at all.
While pawn stores show growth in their retail sales, the number of pawn loans are reported to be on the decline. Non-recourse collateral loans are a primary service that pawnbrokers offer to customers who don’t have access to traditional banking services and credit. However, nearly 40 percent of NPA members surveyed reported a decrease in loans being made to customers. Mr. Collier added, “The decrease may be attributed to loan-seekers not owning items with intrinsic value, such as gold jewelry, which makes for solid collateral when obtaining a pawn loan. Consumers either sold their valuable gold jewelry at the height of the cash-for-gold era or simply don’t possess items with a dependable resale value.”
This downward shift has steadily continued over the last six years. Over 83 percent of pawnbrokers report pawn loans as their most common transaction. A typical pawn loan is $150 with 80 percent of loans being redeemed within 30 days or less. When surveyed year over year, however, pawnbrokers remain optimistic, as most predict that all business will continue to grow in 2019.