Canadian second-hand economy spending up $1B

Here are tips on how to get the most out of buying and selling

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Around 82% of Canadians took part in the second-hand economy last year spending $29 billion in second-hand transactions; this according to the Kijiji Second-Hand Economy (SHE) Index – 2017 Report.

That’s an increase of $1 billion from the previous year!

Are you surprised to see such big numbers? Don’t be. On average, people participating in the SHE saved $843—that’s up from $480 in the previous year. And if you were on the selling side of things, the average earnings were $1,037 (up from $883 in 2015).

As it turns out, the second-hand economy is a great source for savings. Canadians who participated were motivated by the opportunity to save money and getting a good deal, according to Kijiji’s report.

The money saved (or earned by sellers) was put towards making everyday purchases, savings, and paying off debt.

What are people trading?

According to the SHE index, the following were the top exchanged goods.

  • Clothing, shoes & accessories
  • Entertainment products
  • Baby clothing and accessories
  • Games, toys, and video games
  • Leisure, art, and craft items

This really isn’t that surprising when you realize that the second-hand economy isn’t just about buying and selling used goods; it also refers to donating, renting, gifting, sharing and, swapping.

These days, many people decide to donate their used clothes instead of throwing them out. Entertainment products also refer to electronics equipment where those surveyed believe they would pay 2.3 times if buying new instead of used. Baby clothes and accessories always get handed down while video games have always been a popular item to buy used.

Where do people get their used items?

The most popular ways to acquire second-hand goods were the following according to the report.

  • Kijiji
  • Shops with a social mission
  • Second-hand clothes shops
  • Social networks
  • Garage sales
  • One-time events (excluding garage sales)
  • Other shops trading second-hand goods
  • Craigslist
  • Website dedicated to goods donations
  • Retailers

Tips to get the most out of second-hand buying/selling

Kijiji – I’ve personally used Kijiji quite a few times, but I had no idea the site has more than 6.1-million listings at any given time. Just recently when I bought my condo, I sold some of my old furniture here, but I’ve also sold video games and collectibles too. Depending on what I’m looking to buy, I’ll also check Kijiji to see if anyone is selling it used since I know I can usually save a fair amount of money. Remember, Kijiji prices are usually negotiable. If you offer the seller a fair price (not a low ball), and offer to pick it up right away, there’s a good chance they’ll say yes. Also, there are many items listed on Kijiji for free, you could technically pay nothing if you’re not too picky. 

Bunz – Falling under social networks, Bunz started as a Toronto-based Facebook group where members trade goods. It now also has an app and is available in multiple cities including Hamilton, Montreal, Vancouver, and New York. With Bunz, no money is exchanged, you’re trading goods, but many people opt to trade for gift cards. Some people are understandably worried about meeting strangers, so Bunz has created official Bunz Trading Zones. These zones are partnered with local cafes, bars and shops with long hours so you can feel safe when trading your goods.

Consignment stores – I don’t have personal experience with consignment stores, but I have a few friends who swear by them. They tell me that you can often find designer clothes at 50% off the retail price. Sizing is usually an issue, so frequent trips are required, but their tip is to check out the stores in nicer parts of towns where there’s a better chance of finding great deals.

autoTRADER.ca – When I bought my car a few years ago, the first place I looked at was autoTRADER. For those of you unfamiliar with the site, it’s the best Canadian online source to find used vehicles. What some people don’t realize is that the site isn’t just for individuals, every car dealership also lists their used vehicles here making the search process much easier. One tip, always compare prices listed on autoTrader with the list value in the Canadian Black Book. The Black Book is considered the ultimate guide and you should never pay above what they’ve listed taxes included).

Final word

The Second-Hand Economy Index may come as a surprise for some, but for others, it validates what they’ve known for a long time. Buying or selling used items is a great way to save or make money.

 

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