Marketplaces for second-hand goods are growing twenty times faster than the overall retail market. The combination of low prices and sustainability is proving to be a huge success, in which eBay remains the largest by far.
Inflation ups the game
“ReCommerce”, or consumer-to-consumer sales of second-hand, refurbished and reused items on online marketplaces, currently represents 75 billion euros in sales in the European Union this year, or a tenth of the total e-commerce market. It is expected to grow by 60 % to 120 billion euros in the next three years, however, reaching 14 % of total online sales. 93 % of consumers say high inflation affects their decision to buy and sell second-hand items.
Knowledge platform Cross-Border Commerce Europe has just published its the third edition of the “Top 100 Cross-Border Sustainable Marketplaces Europe”, an annual analysis of the sustainability and corporate social responsibility performance of the top 100 cross-border marketplaces in Europe. Its finding that eBay remains the undisputed number one should come as no surprise to anyone: after all, selling second-hand goods is a vital part of the eBay seller ecosystem in the EU.
Whitegoods, fashion and cars
The report also looks at some retail sectors in detail. In consumer electronics, 45 billion worth of products are lost every year because they are not repaired. Smartphones represented 12 % of global electronic waste in 2021, but help is at hand: second-hand and refurbished already account for an 11 % share of sales. Marketplaces that stand out in this regard are France’s Backmarket and Germany’s Rebuy, who aim to make recycled and refurbished electronics the first choice.
In the fashion sector, second-hand online already accounts for 20 billion in sales, an amount that should almost double to 37 billion by 2025. Second-hand’s market share would rise from 14.5 % to 21 % over that three-year period. Driving that growth are platforms such as Vinted and Vestiaire Collective.
Almost half of online car trading today is already recommerce, on ads marketplaces like Autoscout24, Lacentrale.fr and Mobile.de.