The user makes his place… even in gifts!

Would you dare to offer a used item as a gift to someone? Some 27% of Canadians say they have done so in the past year!


“This is an extremely interesting change in trend compared to studies done 20 years ago,” comments Fabien Durif of the Observatoire de la consommation responsable and co-author of the 2017 report of the Kijijiji Index of the Second Hand Economy.

Long reserved for people with lower incomes, the user is now popular in all income groups. Moreover, contrary to what one might think, people do not buy and sell more used goods when the economy is in bad shape.

In fact, the better the economy goes, the more they find takers! According to the report, if monthly incomes increase by $100, each person acquires or abandons 10 more items in the second-hand economy. Conversely, fewer goods change hands as unemployment increases. The used car market is therefore evolving like the new goods market.

Brands adapt

Faced with consumers’ enthusiasm for used goods, some large companies sniffed out a good deal. “In Europe, IKEA stores buy back the company’s second-hand furniture and sell it,” says Durif. The same goes for Habitat, which is the equivalent of Maison Corbeil here. The company created a Habitat 1964 brand. She buys the goods from consumers and sells them in a vintage shop. It’s also a way to control their brand.”

In Canada, it has not yet identified similar brand initiatives. However, he expects to see some. “In Quebec, we are seeing a renewal of traditional clothing stores, collaborative tools and specialized platforms,” says Durif. It is obvious that major brands will also start to make in the second hand.”

Save money

Even if consumers at all income levels turn to the user, the prospect of saving remains their main reason. And their budget benefits more and more!

  • Buyers saved an average of $843 in 2016 compared to $480 in 2015.
  • Sellers earned an average of $1037 in 2016 compared to $883 in 2015.

The value of second-hand transactions in Canada in 2016 was $29 billion.

“The ecological aspect remains the second main motivation for consumers to abandon,” says Durif. It’s the third one to buy. There is a desire to have an impact on environmental protection.” They will be happy to know that 1.9 billion goods were given a second life in the country last year!

Regional differences

However, the enthusiasm varies across the country. Ontario and the western provinces have the most dynamic second-hand economies with “intensity rates” exceeding 80 in each. The champion is Alberta with 91. In Quebec, it stagnated at 67 while the Maritimes rose to 60.

Contrary to popular belief, the report also notes that the market for used goods is not an urban phenomenon. In fact, it is more vigorous in medium-sized and small cities and rural areas. Nevertheless, Montréal is among the three most active cities in the country behind Calgary and Edmonton.

Curiously, Quebec City is among the cities with the lowest score! Second-hand practices have even dropped since last year. For Fabien Durif, the mystery remains intact for the moment. He hoped to be able to clarify it, at least in part, in his next report.