How Liquidating Unwanted Goods Became A $644 Billion Business

How Liquidating Unwanted Goods Became A $644 Billion Business

A record number of online returns has created a booming $644 billion liquidation market. As supply chain backlogs cause shortages of new goods and Gen Z shoppers demand more sustainable retail options, pain points for one sector of retail are big business for another.

The nation’s only major public liquidator, Liquidity Services, resells unclaimed mail, items left at TSA checkpoints, and outdated military vehicles. It also refurbishes highly sought after electronics, from noise-canceling headphones to the machines that make microchips.

CNBC takes you on an exclusive tour inside a Liquidity Services returns warehouse outside Dallas, Texas, where unwanted goods from Amazon and Target are stacked to the ceiling before being resold on Liquidation.com or a variety of other marketplaces.

Inside Liquidity Services’ 130,000-square-foot warehouse in Garland, Texas, the aisles aren’t lined with typical merchandise. Instead, they’re stacked with returns from Amazon, Target, Sony, Home Depot, Wayfair and more, all in the process of being liquidated.

“Liquidators are coming in and they’re buying up all of this product in bulk. They’re then packaging it, palletizing it and reselling it, either to be resold on a site like eBay or Poshmark, or even to individual consumers. So it’s turned into a much bigger portion of the industry than we’ve ever seen before,” said Sonia Lapinsky of consulting group AlixPartners.

The liquidation market has more than doubled since 2008, reaching a whopping $644 billion in 2020, according to data from Colorado State University.

“A lot of this used to be controlled by the mafia,” said Zac Rogers, assistant professor of supply chain management at Colorado State University. “It’s a good way to hide money, honestly, because nobody’s looking at returns. Especially 40 years ago, no one was looking at returns.”

But in 2021, a record 16.6% of all merchandise sold was returned, up from 10.6% in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation. For online purchases, the average rate of return was even higher, at 20.8%, up from 18% in 2020. Processing a return can cost retailers up to 66% of an item’s original price, according to returns solution company Optoro.

“Everyone’s very worried about price increases right now. I would suggest that it’s possible part of the inflation is these huge amount of returns, that have to be sold at a loss, is detracting from the profitability that a company normally has, and they have to raise their prices,” said Tony Sciarrotta, executive director of the Reverse Logistics Association.

There’s also a big environmental cost. Returns that aren’t liquidated are often destroyed by being incinerated or sent to landfills. Optoro estimates U.S. returns generate an estimated 16 million metric tons of carbon emissions and create up to 5.8 billion pounds of landfill waste each year.

This pain point for mainstream retailers is now big business for liquidators. There are now thousands of companies in the booming space. One of them is GoodBuy Gear, which specializes in safely liquidating items for babies and young kids.

“Buying one used item, it saves 82% of its carbon footprint and consumers are really starting to make smart choices. And so I think that the boom in liquidation is really fueled by consumerism and how it’s shifted from new to used,” said Kristin Langenfeld, CEO and co-founder of GoodBuy Gear.

Sustainable shopping options are a growing priority for younger shoppers. 

“The circular economy exists to make sure these items find a home, connect it with a family or a young consumer, and keep it out of the landfill,” said Bill Angrick, CEO of Liquidity Services. He co-founded the company in 1999 as Liquidation.com, with $100,000 of his savings.

“My father and I used to pick up used books and recyclable bottles. Fast forward to the start of eBay. My father and I started toying around with that. We realized that a marketplace model can create value for virtually any type of used item,” Angrick said. 

Watch the video for an exclusive tour inside a Liquidity Services warehouse, to see the booming business of processing and reselling excess and unwanted goods on the secondary market.

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How Liquidating Unwanted Goods Became A $644 Billion Business

50 Comments

  1. Alexander Andrei on May 3, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    Best channel on the web. This guy is amazing! Love the content, attitude, and wardrobe. Excellent content and not complicated for a novice like me 😀😀👍👍 i’ll take any investing advice or Ideas or mentorship reccomdations

  2. Leo Horishny on May 3, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    This is as depressing as the Ukraine War, and disgusting, and fully concrete proof a consumptive, capitalist economy is going to destroy humanity and the social order as we’ve known it in history. The very same “market forces” that enriched Bozos is going to drive economies to continue past any expected “danger point” of irreversible anthropogenic global warming. And humans will STILL keep watching Netflix, and clicking on Ship from Amazon.

  3. M B on May 3, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Low life buyers… wow

  4. rizla 99 on May 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    There is a reason they made 650 billion , selling crap to idiots who think buying a returns pallet is going to make them momey 🤭 The only people who get a decent pallet are friends and family members of the pallet producers the rest get the crap and you struggle to give it away free 🤫

  5. sci water on May 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    There’s a filipino somewhere outhere

  6. Hister Shellac on May 3, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Planet Landfill

  7. carl rogers on May 3, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    There should be an IQ test for people wanting to shop online.

  8. Antonio P on May 3, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Unsavory is having to pay more for damaged/discontinued or returned items because of liquidating companies.

  9. SANDOR VARGA on May 3, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    Vrau.bani.mej.ches.999999990.milliarde,/£/data,28,april,2022

  10. a m on May 3, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    Everyone that’s mad in the comment section are just jealous that they aren’t getting a piece/aren’t involved in this

  11. The Art of Business | Podcast on May 3, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    You have to be careful of companies like BStock, they are not honest businesses. One thing this video doesn’t touch on is that there are different levels to what is classified as customer returns. For example, shelf pulls are classified as customer returns. Shelf pulls are brand new merchandise that was pulled because it didn’t sell fast enough and room was needed for newer merch. You have items returned that are "like-new" "open-box", etc. These liquidation companies will advertise an auction as "Shelf Pulls" or "Like-New" but what they send you are salvage items or completely broken merchandise. They do not allow returns, they only offer credit on your next purchase. But don’t take my word for it, look at their better business bureau reviews. Understand that many of them also have eBay stores of their own! Know that there are insane conflicts of interest involved. It’s an all around shady business.

  12. Arghyadeep 573 on May 3, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    it’s a good move to seel those items again and reusing it with warranty! definitely a time & resource saving option

  13. James m Eppler on May 3, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Weren’t we just throwing that stuff in the dump, for years? So what you’re saying is theres billions and billions worth of goods in the landfill….

  14. Roz Christopherson on May 3, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    I see people coming into the UPS store constantly shipping returns back to Amazon. Perfectly good items. Why not donate them to churches or to a friend who could use the items? The amount of fossil fuels used to keep transporting these items back and forth and keeping warehouses warm enough for workers is ridiculous.

  15. Tania Adams on May 3, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    Walking away

  16. lnteIIigencia xeIA Jonesita ahora especiaImente on May 3, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    *WW2 like war being started to hide WW2 like genocide. Adolf Hitler exterminated 12000000 under the guise of a typhus epidemic, and now ​a corona virus pandemic.* Corona means crown, and a virus attacking the crown/government is some thing exposing government (2Corinthians4:4). *Revelation/Apocalypse 17,18 can only apply to one place on earth. Research it well to learn who has been behind slaughters for centuries!* 1John5:19 is trying to stop Daniel12:4,2:44,45. *Hitler was an unexcommunicated Catholic, who rounded up to go to concentration camps because of a supposed typhus epidemic, and they were gassed on the way by vehicle exhaust, or by zyklon B rodent extermination gas(h#$%@3n)cyanide. Just like Hitler started a World War to hide the genocide, so are they now.* NATO militerizing Ukraine against Russia for a long time. *NATO changed the capital of Ukraine from a Russian word to a new name. The West overthrew the Russian backed government less than 10 years ago and has been killing those still loyal to Russia and calling them separatists or Russian sympathizers.* There were massive quantities of UK/US rockets and rocket launchers, which regular Catholic Ukrainians use to destroy Russian military vehicles. *NATO calls Russia stupid for having all there tanks in a row, but they were coming in to defend, but the leader(an actor), Nazi sympathizer, is either ignorant or planned the attack.* Does any one remember World War Two? Same happening. *Trump said 2 years ago,"We’ll soon at war with Russia and China". The virus disappeared, because they couldn’t explain new vaccines for new variants with out testing. To get a vaccine would be a miracle in short time, but 30 miracles in a row? The virus wasn’t able to lock you down and control you, so they are starting WW3. Why did virus lockdown include only being able to talk to family? To hide information.* The people of Mariopul left for Catholic Poland(the land of most WW2 exterminations of the Church of Rome’s enemies). Once empty, you can see on videos that buildings are being blown up like there is carpet bombing happening, but there is no missile or rocket seen in the sky. NATO invents the idea that Russia has supersonic missiles that go faster than you can see. Why would Russia use such advanced weapons to destroy low value buildings? The explosions were too big for mortar fire and in very close timing, like a controlled demolition. *Meanwhile all the Catholics are safe in Poland, accept the civilians who stayed to use the NATO rocket launchers in surprise attack against an unsuspecting Russian column, there to protect Russian people. Military strategists say Russia was stupid and clumsy, how they just casually drove in. That was because they weren’t attacking until they were attacked by thousands of handheld missiles. Russian media was blocked in NATO Countries(why?). If you have the truth, there is no reason to run from information. RT(Chinese CGTN also), was one of the Russian sources blocked.* There was a world wide confiscation of Russian people’s assets being confiscated. Russia had been asking for talks and security guarantees, but Joe said basically (@)U. This is the same as during WW2. *You can not let the Church that rides the Roman Empire of Revelation Apocalypse 17,18, destroy Acts2:44(communism). *Most picked up for isolation, were dead with in 70 days.* Revelation says, *leave the Revelation18:4 group if they don’t want to receive her plagues. (Hello, if you don’t want to receive her plagues!)*
    ​According to Revelation 18 this group wears *scarlet(Catholic Cardinals),* and *purple(Catholic Bishops).* It refers to a city Kingdom *(Rome is the only city kingdom in the world), that rules over the Kings of the earth.* Where are the Kings? *The Roman Empire broke in 2 and from those 2 divisions came 10 Countries. The Pope was the eleventh, but he got rid of 3, and from the 7 he is chosen, and there will be 10 again.* 5 Countries on each leg of the Roman Empire. *The (cross or X) is on the shields(British flag, same as Roman shield) of the Empire, and it symbolizes the ten Kingdoms(X in Latin=10), and their religious beliefs. According to official writings no one may buy or sell or say a greeting to any one who has left the cross. The X or cross originates from the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet the tau, which means a mark, both literal and figurative. In The Bible book of Ezekiel 9, God put a tau(mark) on the people, and it was not for salvation. Revelation/Apocalypse **13:18** says you won’t be able to buy or sell with out the tau(mark) of the beast(Empire).* Knowingly accepting this falsehood gets you condemned. *Popes have always had a mitre(triple tiered crown) with 666 on it in Latin (Vicarivs Filli Dei).* Latin letters have a number associated with it. 1John5:19 attacking (Daniel12:4) *Clear your browser history and cache, and YouTube search and viewing history!* Please pray for me and you! *Study Revelation/Apocalypse 17,18 deeply, as people are putting their life on the line for you!* **There is an unclaimed open offer of 1000 000 dollars to any one who can prove that Rome(Pope) is not the man in the Temple that rides the Roman Empire of Revelation 17,18. In fact, that is why it is called the "Roman"Catholic Church.* Idols on Ste. Peter’s Basilica(Rome), show that Rome is a complete fraud (Acts15, Exodus20, Deuteronomy 5). *Governments mandate vaccines all over the world, which causes sabotage, boycotts, protests, walk outs and people quittng, so as to destroy businesses.* Those trying to Daniel12:4 about 1John5:19. *The Pope and the British Royals were found guilty of genocide, by the International Criminal Court, pre corona. Donald J. Trump attacked the International Criminal Court by the US financial system.* Revelation/Apocalypse17,18, 1John5:19, 2Corinthians4:4 is waring against God and humanity. *Not NWO Daniel 12:4, but 1John**5:19** OWO. Same as the genocide and war of WW2, and plague of 1918.* Think! *Copy and share this information!(video record, record in audio, text, or ?* They are attacking because of information exposing them. **There are two realities playing out.** *1.* A corona virus pandemic and a vaccine to stop its spread. *2.* Corona means crown(government) and there is a virus(information exposing/attacking the crown/government) and there is a computer/device anti virus(vaccine)(which is supposed to protect from malicious computer code) and this anti virus deletes information from your view.(turn off antivirus software!) *Trade your digital vaccine pass for a paper one and they lose control! Do it! They will go in to a frenzy because of this information.* UK just passing laws to lock people up indefinitely, with no trial, take your kids, force tests, and send to concentration camps. *UK has released tender for businesses to contract cadaver services for millions of human corpses. Mass emergency poison purchase in Australia. Hitler used rat poison.* Revelation/Apocalypse 17,18 ruled the world for 1260 years , as Bible foretold. Rome was beheading for observing the real Sabbath(not ((Sun)day) "lord’s day" lord’s day is a clever imposter of the Sabbath.) *Catholic Austrian Royals ruled Germany and Catholic Austrian Adolf Hitler authorized most exterminations, which were in Catholic Poland, which is now completely militarizing including school children.* Revelation/Apocalypse17,18 eats it’s children. *××Every one needs a 2.5 micron air quality monitor, so you can see when you are being GASSED!xx*(Revelation13:15,18:5,*6*.) *G7 nations are removing corona restrictions, to regain it by war powers, or a new bird flu plan.* G(7) of Revelation. Who will do the will of God? (*Revelation 18:6*) *Think about sabotaging NATO assets for sake of the world. They are using hand held rocket launchers, so do the same. Quit British Pound and US dollar, use Bitcoin or other!* I’ve been warning for over two years that Rome would start a war with Russia and China to hide genocide. *Roman Catholic Joe Biden attacking Acts2:44,45, Daniel2:44,45, bypassing US government for military equipment distribution.* Gog and Magog are in Turkey, not Russia. *Rome hates (Acts2:44,45; 4:32-35).* Ukraine sinking their own ships and blowing up their own bridges. *NATO has M.O.B. on flag, and goal is war on Acts2:44.* Rome planned Ukraine war for 2017(Pompeo). *The Pope is the man of sin in the(false)temple with 666, and exterminating for generations, yet the US although it has the largest military, is naked and prostrated gratifying her Papal master, while UK readies her turn. The world was counting on you. Most cowardly in all history. ****America are you in agreement with Joe Biden using you to fight Rome’s wars, and be at war with the entire world?????**** Ukraine war was started from Poland?(Italian/US forces were there) Who will obey God’s Revelation18:4-8? *I am not Russian.* Fact finding mission finds Russia not guilty of genocide. Multi Nation Joint forces operation in Ukraine is Rome(since 2014). *Ukrainian Azov Battalion (Nazis) killing those with out blue arm bands. Rome is staging the entire Ukraine scenario, pretending Zelensky is Mark who is an extreme athlete, or hoping he will be confused for Kiev Mayor. Mark donated much wealth and science to the world and Rome stole it. *This is a take over of Ukraine/war on Russia, by Rome.* Imagine NATO Countries attacking your Country and blaming yours, so as to attack you! *All Countries of the world formally ask NATO’s almost 900 military bases to leave your Countries or confiscate it, for war crimes in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq etc etc etc!* This is a global tyrannical occupation. WW2 East Germany was Communist, before Rome destroyed it. This is the same thing. Think! Promising freedom, but really enslavement. NATO=greatest threat to freedom worldwide.;:?)(;

  17. Andrea Borowsky on May 3, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    AMAZING!

  18. Joseph Charlemagne on May 3, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    lollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll Ops

  19. State of Opportunity on May 3, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    I like how these corpos call regular folks "low life buyers".

    *shakes head*

  20. Sifiso Nkosi on May 3, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    what is the bidding website

  21. James Arrieta on May 3, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    getting orders and charged with credit card and not deivered to customer..scam

  22. Walt W. on May 3, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Stop buying crap yall

  23. Deon Van Vuuren on May 3, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Just be aware that you never receive your items…its got a tracking number and all…but it never reach you
    It says its been delivered,but you never see it
    Be very aware
    Its a scam

  24. Rico , suave on May 3, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    This is Capitalism , not perfect , but way better than living in a Communist or Socialist country . You have to live both systems to compare .

  25. sci water on May 3, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    Very nice. It’s bslikbqyab boz

  26. NORTHBROOK1978 on May 3, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Almost like they make it on purpose..

  27. MPLS Car Sales on May 3, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    What website or who do I contact to get some shipments?

  28. C games on May 3, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    Like thứ 58

  29. Niko Grujic on May 3, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    Unwanted goods are damaged goods !!!??? Soon this goods will end up in 99 cents stores !!! Greetings from Serbia 🇷🇸

  30. oldtechie on May 3, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    Styrofoam densifier likely uses a lot of energy and is very bad for the environment.

  31. Stephen Blake on May 3, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    More like a monopoly ( corporation) Amazon isn’t environmental friendly?? This proves that?? And small business killers?? And many other companies? Nothing beats hands on in your face??? ?

  32. Jose Nava on May 3, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    The local Harbor freight pulled a slick move on the shoppers.

    *STORE CLOSING* *STORECLOSING*

    that was there strategy after the plandemic

  33. TXTE on May 3, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    The CEO looks like James Okeefe in 20 years

  34. Myriri on May 3, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    So basically.
    It went from being an industry accessible to normal people to the playground of billionaires.
    You can see how some of these guys are absolutely seething at the thought they had to be in the room with poors

  35. Assize Tech on May 3, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    I personally wouldn’t buy a used baby accessories and appliances

  36. kieran brentnall on May 3, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    How are those people low life’s puts food on the table

  37. Ewen Chan on May 3, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Your capitalism at work.

  38. Geographer 4 fun on May 3, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    This is slavery with extra steps… Minimalism for life !!!!

  39. Jeff Sebestyen on May 3, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    This was a great video. I cannot get enough of these Returns/Liquidation videos. I haven’t been to at Liquidation Store before, but my town just got one and they sell Amazon Returns.

  40. Morning Loves on May 3, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    And WE HAVE HOMELESS AND HUNGRY PEOPLE WHY???…THE RECYCLING IS GREAT!!! THIS IS THE KINGDOM AND EVOLVING ETERNITY OF MATERIALISTIC "CRAP"… WHY ARE FACTORIES MAKING MORE AND MORE CRAP,THERES PLENTY IN THE WORLD AS THIS SHOWS…AND NO ONE SHOULD BE UNHAPPY OR WITHOUT IN LIFE…PERFECT EXAMPLE HERE!!!…"HI JESUS ",🎤" WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?"…🤭🙏

  41. BrownCat WithBlurredBackground on May 3, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    "Liquidators used to be the mafia and you want to wash your hands after the deal."–Tony Scariotta.

  42. then benagcz on May 3, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    Why they don’t sell it to used items

  43. James Peters on May 3, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    A ten dollar bag of crap! 😂

  44. Deez Nuts on May 3, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    Nice commercial for that company.

  45. Vietboy Gamer on May 3, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Never buy used books you don’t know where they came from trust me.

  46. Bob Rogers on May 3, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    Think of all the clothing, shoes, household items and toys that poor people would be so grateful to receive – and we incinerate or landfill them. Before they are destroyed, these things should be out for the taking.

  47. Jens M. S. on May 3, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    its just like the Wolf of wall street and the big short 😅 instead of stocks and bonds this time its just repackaged crap sold to the highest bidder haha… guess we are overdue for the next major recession

  48. 1 1 on May 3, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    this will be gone as soon as recession hits 2023

  49. EasyGaming WWII Gaming Channel on May 3, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    We need to move to service, arts, science culture society.

  50. Lord Lee on May 3, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    They all end up on Amazon, and the real reason the business booming is because the bottom half of the population are getting poorer and poorer

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