In 2021, China sold approximately 40 trillion-yuan worth of consumer products, making it the world's largest market for consumer goods. The production of such a massive amount of consumer goods has led to tremendous carbon dioxide emissions each year. Additionally, the consequences of excessive shopping are often many unused items at home. In a survey conducted in 2022, more than 95 percent of Chinese consumers admitted to having a fair amount of items no longer in use at home. In response to the rapidly growing environmental concerns, more and more Chinese consumers are willing to trade their unused items in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Over 40 percent of respondents who owned unused items would like to bring them to recycle by reselling those articles .

Used consumer goods trade in China

China has traditionally associated buying used goods with financial insufficiency. Since the 1970s, the country experienced profound economic reforms that helped end poverty throughout a number of towns and villages. At that time, owning brand new products was considered a symbol of affluence and success. Nevertheless, like many of their western peers, younger generations in China have developed a more sophisticated shopping pattern than their parents, including being open to the circular economy.

In 2020, China's second-hand market surpassed one trillion yuan, nearly quintupled compared to 2015. Pre-owned consumer electronics, mainly smartphones, contributed to about 40 percent of China's second-hand sales . According to a survey in 2020, more than one out of five male consumers in China bought used smartphones, and consumers from middle-size cities were more likely to purchase second-hand phones than those who reside in metropolises. In contrast, when it comes to second-hand luxury sales, female consumers and those living in larger cities dominate the market . For many of China's young consumers, buying used luxury items is not only for saving money but also to demonstrate their fashion tastes .

Re-commerce in China

In China, the rapid development of e-commerce has also allowed consumers to buy or sell second-hand items on online flea markets. At the end of 2021, approximately 223 million Chinese consumers used re-commerce services, accounting for almost one-fourth of the country's online shoppers .

China's re-commerce services providers primarily conduct their businesses via C2C and C2B2C modes. Alibaba-owned app Xianyu, also known as Idle Fish, remained China's most popular C2C re-commerce platform. While Zhuanzhuan, jointly funded by Tencent and 58.com, ranked second with about nine million monthly active users . Additionally, second-hand luxury goods trade platform Plum and Dewu, as well as consumer electronics trade platform ATRenew , were some of China's most popular C2B2C re-commerce platforms.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Second-hand consumer goods market in China".


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