Second-hand economy grows to $27.3 billion

Kijiji index reveals a shift in consumer motivations towards ‘community-minded commerce’

By Troy Media

Four out of five Canadians participated in the second-hand economy in 2018, fuelling a $27.3 billion second-hand economy that has grown annually since 2015, according to the fifth annual Kijiji Second-Hand Economy Index, released on Monday.

The company said the index reveals a shift in consumer motivations towards “community-minded commerce,” with Canadians increasingly driven by the altruistic and ecological benefits of exchanging used items.

The index found:

  • Canadians have earned an average of $961 and saved an average of $723 each year over the past five years through second-hand items. This translates to more than $8,400 in earnings and savings.
  • The top 10 per cent of users of the second-hand economy – those transacting the most goods – are developing the commercial market for second-hand goods. On average, these top users deal with nearly 500 items per year, six times more than the national average.
  • Young people (age 45 and under) are the most active generation within the second-hand economy, with 88 per cent participation (compared with the 82 per cent national average) and 100 items exchanged per year.
  • In all five years, Kijiji has been by far the dominant commercial channel for the second-hand economy, averaging nearly 14 per cent of all commercial transactions over the past five years, twice as much as the market share of the nearest competing platform.

“While financial motivations for buying and selling second-hand continue to be the leading reasons for participation in the second-hand economy, they have shrunk by four per cent over the past five years. At the same time, there has been a six per cent increase in disposal driven by altruism – with consumers aiming to have a positive impact on their fellow citizens, the community and society as a whole. Ecological motivations are also becoming more important (+6 per cent for disposal and +three per cent for acquisition), reflecting a national focus on protecting the planet and reducing waste. In 2018 alone, Canadians gave 2.4 billion items a second life – 250 million more items than in 2014,” said the report.

The rate of second-hand acquisitions has grown 14 per cent since 2014, fuelled by the availability of technology that connects buyers and sellers and a shifting attitude towards second-hand goods. In fact, the Intensity Index, or the average number of second-hand items acquired or disposed of by every Canadian in a year, has risen from 76 in 2014 to 82 now, representing an increase of eight per cent, it said.

“Each year we looked at the study, it was clear that the second-hand economy created massive macro and micro economic benefits. When we looked at the five years of data combined, we saw that this enormous economic activity isn’t simply driven by financial benefits. Canadians are more mindful and want to leave a positive impact on their community and environment alike,” said Matthew McKenzie, general manager of Kijiji Canada, in a news release. 

“As a result, we see that Canadians have a growing desire to acquire second-hand items. There’s an opportunity for Canadian individuals and businesses to benefit through meeting market demand by selling their second-hand goods.”

© Troy Media

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