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Consumers think circularly with regard to their second-hand purchases

A large proportion of the consumers who bought a second-hand/used item that they then did not want to keep sold it again or gave it away.

A majority (56 percent) of consumers think circularly with regard to their second-hand purchases andsold the item again (31 percent) or gave it away (25 percent). 28 percent returned the item to the seller, but as described earlier in the report, this is not always possible. 7 percent threw it away.


Consumers who make second-hand purchases are thus already relatively circular in their approach. To raise the percentage further, companies and logistics operators could perhaps simplify the process even more. For example, there are companies that pick up and sell used goods so that consumers don’t have to do it themselves. More solutions of that type would probably increase the proportion of goods sold on the second-hand market instead of being thrown away or just ending up on shelves in a storeroom without being used.

Source: The E-barometern Q2 2022

Consumer insights:
Why we buy second hand goods

The business person:

What sort of second-hand items do you purchase online?

It has mostly been electronics, but it can also be furniture and things like that. It depends on what I need: a camera, a phone or whatever I require. If I want something, I always first look at what is available secondhand. I think it feels like quite a waste to buy something brand new when some things that are sold second-hand are almost like new.

Have you ever wanted to return a second-hand item? Was it possible?

Yes, I’ve been disappointed with the purchase once or twice. But that’s just how it is sometimes, unfortunately. The main examples are items of clothing that don’t fit, so it hasn’t been worth trying to return them. That’s basically the calculated risk you have to take when buying second-hand products online.

Do you also sell things online?

Yes. Quite often I sell things that I bought second-hand but then didn’t want to keep. So I sell them again. I guess I’ve always thought that buying and selling are fun – I don’t see it as hard work, as others might. Both the hunt for bargains and then being able to sell stuff, and get money for it! If I don’t need something, I’ll sell it as soon as I can, if it has any value, of course.

What is the best bargain you have bought?

I bought a GoPro camera that I took with me on a trip to Mexico. When I got home, I sold it for more than I had bought it. So I made money on something that I used for a month.

The auction connoisseur:

What is it you like about shopping at auctions online?

I like that there are things in so many different categories. For example porcelain, jewelry, curiosities, chairs, all sorts of things. I’m not actually a huge e-commerce fan, but consider it to be a good complement. It all depends on where what you want is available; if it’s available online then that’s where I go to get it.

The potential search area becomes much bigger if you’re looking for something special, such as particular tableware. Online, you can search through every auction at the same time to find exactly what you are looking for, and you don’t have to look around all the actual auction houses in person. Otherwise, finding a bargain at auction can depend to a large extent on luck and being in the right place at the right time.

If you buy things second hand, there is, for example, no legal right of return – how do you feel about that?

There should be more procedures in place so people don’t try to abuse the system and deceive other people. The second-hand setup is something people take advantage of sometimes. But when you buy secondhand items, there’s always a certain element of risk, and it’s difficult to argue about the product and make demands, and you often have to look at and approve it yourself and that can sometimes be difficult.

How do you avoid being disappointed with the goods you buy?

Different auction houses provide different levels of detail in their description of the goods, but often they make that little extra check for you so that you won’t be disappointed, for example they tell you clearly if there is a crack somewhere. Private sellers should perhaps also do that. All advertisements should have a description that includes a bit about “visible defects”, where the seller has to accurately state the condition of the item. That could be referred to in the case of a dispute. Or at least have a short “bear in mind” section for people who advertise goods online, as that makes it easier for both the buyer and the seller

The bargain hunter:

What sort of second-hand items do you purchase online?

Often video games or stereo stuff. Or basically anything electronic.

You defined yourself as a bargain hunter – could you tell us a bit more about that, please?

I naturally buy some things secondhand, as they are often at least as good as new products. I have a computer that cost 40,000 Swedish kronor but I wouldn’t have to spend so much on it today; in just six months you can get the same computer for 20,000. And I bought a laptop that I had been trying to find for a long time for 6,000. The seller bought it for 18,000 originally!

But there are other things that are important to take into account as well, such as warranties. Sometimes you get a warranty, for example I bought my phone second-hand and it was sold in new condition with a receipt and had a six-month warranty. I paid 8,000 instead of 13,000 for it. If it’s something you use every day, such as a computer, cell phone or TV, I probably wouldn’t buy without a warranty, as it feels like there’s too much that could go wrong.

Have you ever wanted to return a second-hand item? Was it possible?

Yes, a few times. It’s usually gone OK. If I’ve bought something via the Blocket online marketplace using PayPal, it’s possible to return it based on the warranty. There’s sometimes a dispute between the seller and the buyer, if the seller does not want to take the item back. I’ve ended up in a few such disputes and have won some of them and lost others. I think there should be a right of return for two or three days, so that you can look at the item and think about it a bit.

It’s almost been a bit taboo to buy second-hand, and some people may be too proud to do so and think such items are poor quality. For example, my ex would never buy a TV that someone else had used. But old things have now become quite on trend; today it’s a mega-industry!

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