Second-hand goods a first choice for more Chinese

(Xinhua) 14:11, February 08, 2022

BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Right after moving into her new apartment, Li Yuanyuan, a designer living in Shanghai, set up an online group chat and started sending invites to all her neighbors.

She wanted to buy some second-hand stuff, and setting up an online group in a residential community is a popular and convenient way to achieve that.

The demand is solid. It did not take long for residents from other communities to find their way into the chat group.

The merchandise volume of China's second-hand market has grown from 300 billion yuan (about 47 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015 to over 1 trillion yuan in 2020, with products covering almost all consumption categories, according to a 2021 report on resale industry by Institute of Energy, Environment and Ecology, Tsinghua University.

The surge reflects Chinese people's changing demands and views on consumption, said Zhang Li, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC).

Traditionally, the purchase of pre-owned items is often seen as a sign of financial struggle that can lead to social shame. Today, Chinese people, especially young people, view it in a more pragmatic fashion.

"More consumers focus on the actual value of the product instead of whether it is the newest," Zhang said.

According to big data company Analysys, people aged under 35 are the major user base of second-hand online platforms.

In Li's online chat group, people mainly trade unused gifts, furniture and baby products. "Many young mothers sell used strollers or cribs and transactions are quite active there," she said.

Chinese online resale platforms that grew rapidly in recent years have facilitated such transactions.

The merchandise volume of China's online re-commerce has grown from 250 billion yuan in 2019 to over 370 billion yuan in 2020, accounting for 36 percent that of the total second-hand market, according to consultancy iiMedia Research.

"The 'second-hand economy' helps tap into the consumption potential and diversify the e-commerce market," said Bai Ming, another CAITEC researcher, adding that it can serve as a new drive for economic growth.

"It also has green benefits as it helps cut the waste of resources and achieves recycled use," Bai added. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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