Nowadays, second-hand shops and consumer to consumer (C to C) platforms are gaining more and more momentum across Europe and online.

This phenomenon gains so much traction that we forecast it to reach 34 bn euros by 2025. By 2030, the second-hand market will be twice as big as that we know today according to Cross Border Commerce Europe.

Let’s have a look at what is going on in Europe and beyond.

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Second hand & circular economy: how it started

The second hand economy, albeit known for at least 50 years, has been gaining more popularity since the rise of the Internet and the development of the circular economy. This model aims at limiting overconsumption and overproduction, in favor of promoting the circulation of goods between individuals. It is therefore the absolute opposite of the traditional linear economy, which forces overconsumption and waste.

Over the last 15 years, a significant number of people concerned about their way of living have decided not to toss away everything and now give a second chance to items they do not wish to keep.

Therefore, the second hand acts as a way to participate in such a virtuous economy.

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Focus on the 2nd hand trade in Europe

The second-hand trade is already part of pure players and ecommerce leaders in Europe. 41% of them do sell refurbished or second hand items, and these sales are very likely to skyrocket within the next few years, according to Cross-Border Commerce Europe.

Among all the players, let’s take Vinted as an example. This C2C platform specialized in second hand clothing is now worth more than 1bn dollars.

 

Simultaneously, the traditional clothing industry keeps losing ground, mostly because what they offer doesn’t fit the customers’ needs anymore. The second hand is a movement mostly carried out by the younger group of buyers, who definitely do not have the same approach towards shopping.

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What about the rest of the world ?

The second hand is booming and spreads across all countries, no matter what industry. Mostly found in fashion and retail, we also find second hand in electronics and the automobile. The current estimation worldwide is at 25 billion dollars. By 2024 we forecast 60 billion dollars for second-hand fashion online, and this only for the United States.

As a more exotic example: In a survey by online marketplace Carousell, 92% of respondents from the Philippines said they bought secondhand items.

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At a time when we become aware of our environmental impact, the image of second-hand trade is perceived differently. Whether you are in a vintage store or on an online marketplace, the second-hand is no longer as stigmatized as before.

Between our concerns about the sustainability and eco-responsibility of products, shortages of raw materials and government measures in favor of the environment (not to mention the health crisis), the second hand appears to be a viable and virtuous alternative to the traditional economy of buying and throwing away.

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