No one can beat Pinoys in buying preloved goods
Mary Rose Mercado was able to save P1,500 from buying a secondhand coffee grinder through an online selling platform. She has also turned to these online marketplaces to let go of her preloved items such as gadgets and books.
For her, it is a convenient way to get more bang for her buck—whether it’s buying items for a small coffee nook or cleaning up space in the closet.
“I bought my coffee grinder for P6,500 while the original price was P8,000. It was a good deal since the item was in good condition. It was only used for three months and with a minor scratch,” says Mercado, who works as an accountant and is thus someone who really appreciates numbers—especially when it comes to discounts.
“The upside with buying secondhand items is that you’ll really save money, although you cannot be assured of the quality. As a seller myself, it’s good to know that there are people like me who are also open to buying secondhand products,” she adds.
Mercado is one of many Filipinos who have embraced the buying and selling of secondhand goods. As reflected in the latest survey of leading community platform Carousell, Filipinos are the most active in Greater Southeast Asia when it comes to trading hand-me-downs.
The latest Carousell Sustainability Survey shows that 92 percent of Filipino respondents have bought secondhand items in 2020, surpassing the consumer markets of Vietnam and Singapore (83 percent each), Malaysia (78 percent), Indonesia (76 percent) and Myanmar (59 percent). Elsewhere in Asia, the country also beats Taiwan’s 86 percent and Hong Kong’s 85 percent.
For Carousell, this is an opportunity for the Philippines to be a front-runner in the world’s shift to “reverse commerce” (recommerce) or secondhand goods trading.
The sustainable option
With initiatives toward sustainability gaining ground, making second hand a consumer’s first choice is a big step toward mitigating the environmental impact of buy-buy-buy mentality, the marketplace adds.
“The fast fashion industry, perpetuated by the endless buy-throw culture, contributes to approximately 10 percent of all carbon emissions emitted globally … It is not just fashion that encourages a buy-buy-buy mentality. Electronic consumption is yet another cyclical industry: the phone you bought just last year becomes obsolete with the release of this year’s model,” notes Carousell.
True enough, clothing and electronic gadgets top the list of products that are often being bought and sold in the Philippines.
Most surveyed Filipinos are comfortable with buying and selling mostly apparel, citing value for money as the primary reason, followed by toys for children and men’s fashion items.
Amid a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, Carousell also notes a shift in the goods being sold and searched for in the Philippines.
Demand for masks rose in February last year. Thereafter, demand for used cars spiked following the suspension of public transportation and as commuters strived to find safe ways to travel.
Search for luxury brands also shot up, with Filipinos mostly looking for Rolex and Chanel.
Cut demand for new
Despite these glossy figures, there are still those who refuse to buy secondhand goods. About 72 percent of Filipino respondents who have never purchased any preloved item raised concerns on lack of warranty and authentication.
Ultimately, they worry about the quality of the goods.
Actively participating in recommerce is not only bound to help the environment. It can also be a lucrative business. Global data firm Statista estimates that the global resale retail market value may reach $431 billion by 2023.
“If Southeast Asia prioritizes sustainability, it has potential for a big impact on environmental issues and could experience around $75 billion in annual economic opportunities in the retail, health care, education sectors combined,” adds global consultancy firm Bain.
Regionally, respondents say they have about 102,556 unwanted items at home. The Philippines leads in this metric, having the most users with 100 idle items to sell. While most consumers estimate earning between P2,500 and P5,000 selling preloved items, about 11 percent believe they could even earn more than P35,000.
For Carousell, the solution to mounting waste problem is to cut demand for anything new. At least on this front, the Philippines is leading the charge.
“There is the option of sustainably sourced and produced items, but no matter how responsibly products have been made, there is an urgent need to stop buying new. Too much has been produced and too much is going to waste,” says Carousell. “The answer is to reduce the demand for new. That means buying less in general, buying and selling second hand whenever you can, or donating or reselling your own preloved items so that others can enjoy them.”
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