From rags to riches
The rise of the second-hand marketplaceThursday 16 March 2023
Fifteen years ago, when we heard the word ‘second-hand’, car boot sales and charity shops sprung to mind.
Today, it’s come to mean something very different. The second-hand goods market (outside of China) is worth $180bn, dwarfed by the second-hand market for autos, but still as large as the GDP of Greece. This growth began with the internet, but it was the shift to online marketplaces that revolutionised the sector.
By introducing an online platform for buyers and sellers to transact between themselves, marketplaces such as LeBonCoin, eBay, mercari, Vinted and Back Market have transformed the second-hand experience. They’ve enabled consumers to browse in a retail environment, and as a result second-hand now represents more than 10% of the value of all goods transacted via online marketplaces.
Several new and innovative business models have emerged due to this shift, which have reduced barriers to transaction and built trust and consumer confidence in second-hand purchases – in turn increasing popularity.
With strong economic and environmental incentives, and a growing pool of inventory as consumers are owning more goods than ever before, the global network of buyers and sellers created is only expected to expand in coming years. There is, therefore, significant headroom for growth for the second-hand market.
Its predicted value by 2027 is $330bn, with the vast majority of this growth coming from online marketplaces.
To find out what to do about this if you’re an online marketplace, a retailer, a brand, a government body or an investor, view the full report.
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Just fifteen years ago, the biggest threat to traditional commerce was the internet. Brands that were quick to launch transactional websites (and later apps) emerged as victors. Now those same brands face losing out to the emerging dominance of online marketplaces – the disruptor has become the disrupted.