Before it was fast-tracked onto the internet, buying second-hand was just the ticket for delighted customers looking for a good deal, and drawing crowds to flea markets and other sales outlets. Today, the trend has gone digital.
We have known Le Bon Coin and its international ancestor Ebay for more than 10 years. For those keen on fashion, there's Vestiaire Collective, Videdressing.com or the newly omnipresent Vinted. For household appliances: Back Market and others.
In the fashion and luxury sector alone, second-hand goods represent 2% of the global market, i.e. 25 to 34 billion euros. It should grow by 15 to 20% per year over the next five years, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Seeing a booming market, driven by ecological awareness, the major brands have entered the juicy second-hand market! Boulanger, Aigle, Made in Design, La Redoute, Ikea, Oxybul... second-hand sites and tabs are popping up all over the Internet. They operate in various ways: from the simple platform for resale between individuals (with commissions!), to centralized resale (an individual sends the item to the retailer which puts it online and sells it - with large commissions), to the organization of resale day events, the goal is the same: to help consumers better embrace a philosophy that is part of the brands' DNA and to acquire new customers through "cheaper" products.
In this whirlwind of bargains, is this parallel market so ecological? Not necessarily, as Greenflex, the French company specializing in helping companies make the environmental transition, explains: "By offering attractive prices without necessarily considering consumers' actual needs, resale platforms and vintage corners risk maintaining the frenzy of consumerism."* For the moment, there is no evidence that the second-hand market is limiting the production and sale of new products. By advocating easy resale, compulsive purchases are even downplayed.
A real subject of debate, second-hand is attracting more and more enthusiasts. Free alternatives exist with many sites for donations between individuals: Geev.com, donnons.org, jedonne.fr... and that's only the biggest ones. So it is up to everyone to find their own balance between responsible consumption and environmental transition.
Are you interested in responsible consumer trends? To find out more, choose the Slow Fashion minor in the 3rd year of the Bachelor Global Business Development - in one week you can discover this buoyant sector, the state of the market, the issues, the challenges...