If you buy or sell second-hand items, you can put almost $2,000 in your pocket over the course of a year (actual total $1,959), according to Kijiji’s fourth annual Second-Hand Economy Index. That’s more than the average annual pay increase for full-time employees in Canada ($1,729) simply through savings from buying second-hand and money earned from selling unwanted items.
An estimated $28.5 billion worth of second-hand items changed hands in 2017 and more Canadians than ever – 85 per cent of us – are getting in on the action in one form or another. That includes buying or selling, along with swapping, renting or donating second-hand items. Millennials and gen-Xers are the biggest users of the second-hand economy.
A total of 2.3 billion items were given new life through the second-hand economy in 2017 – a 23.8 per cent increase over the previous year – for an average of 80 items being acquired or disposed of by the average participant. When broken down by practice, Canadians are disposing of more items per person on average, compared to acquisitions (43 items disposed of vs. 36 acquired). However, acquisitions increased by 14 per cent from the previous year, while disposals saw a slight decline, down by more than six per cent. Second-hand purchases grew significantly in 2017, up 20 per cent from 2016 and now making up half (51 per cent) of all acquisitions. As for disposal practices, donations continue to dominate, making up 62 per cent of all items Canadians got rid of last year, followed by resales (26 per cent, up slightly by five per cent).
This is the fourth year that Kijiji, Canada’s largest online classifieds site, has taken the pulse of Canadians’ second-hand habits and the results show the value of the second-hand economy has remained consistently above $27 billion since 2014.
“Canadians love finding good value and they recognize how the second-hand economy can deliver it on both sides of buy-and-sell transactions,” said Matthew McKenzie, Kijiji general manager. “We’re seeing that come to life in the way they shop, as Canadians exchanged more second-hand items than ever in 2017.”
With respect to extra money earned, the average person made $1,134 by finding buyers for stuff they no longer needed. Those who bought second-hand instead of new saved an average of $825 over the course of the year.
“Based on four years of data, it’s clear that the second-hand economy is an enduring and thriving part of life in Canada,” said Marie Connolly, University of Montreal economics associate professor and co-author of the 2018 Kijiji Second-Hand Economy Index report. “People continue to turn to it to save money, earn money, de-clutter their lives and pass along useful things that might benefit someone else.”
Year after year, Kijiji maintains its place as the number one commercial channel for buying and selling second-hand, with more users than all other online platforms combined. For first timers to the second-hand economy, 21 per cent turn to Kijiji first, even before friends and family.