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6 in 10 people actively engaged in the second-hand economy in the last six months in the UAE

Why are UAE consumers buying and selling second hand items in a multi million dollar market?

The second-hand market in the UAE is thriving, with $96 million worth of listings recorded on the platform on April 30, 2019 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Sharjah Electronic items are the most traded used items, with 39% of respondents having bought an electronic item and 32% having sold an electronic item in the last six months 27% of respondents estimate that unused items in their homes are worth over AED 2000

dubizzle, the UAEs largest online classifieds platform has shared insight into the UAE’s second-hand economy following a user poll conducted on the platform. The findings have revealed that from a thousand respondents, 60% have engaged in the second-hand economy in the past six months, either through buying or selling (or both) a used item during this period.

With over two million monthly active users,  the dubizzle platform had live listings worth more than AED352 million ($95.9m) on 30 April 2019 – this is equivalent to the cost of a top of the line private jet, or the cost of building two Dubai Frames. Dubai was the largest market, with AED 166 million ($45.2m) worth of live listings on this day, followed by Abu Dhabi with AED 88 million ($24m), Sharjah with AED 58 million ($15.8m), and Ajman with almost AED 40 million ($10.9m). 

The poll which ran on dubizzle from in the last week of April 2019, explored the habits and motivations of respondents’ participation in the second-hand economy.

36% of poll respondents sold a used item in the past six-months

The poll revealed that used electronics (32%) were the most sold items in the second-hand market, followed by home and garden equipment (25%), child and baby items (9%), sport and outdoor items (7%), fashion and beauty items (7%), business and industrial supplies (5%), and art, books, DVDs, toys and games (4%).

When asked about the main reasons behind selling used items, respondents highlighted that a key motivator was the quick turnaround of cash – 22% needed extra cash urgently, while 19% needed cash for a lifestyle upgrade. Other reasons for selling included relocating (17%), decluttering (16%) and wanting to extend the life of their items (16%).

Respondents who did not sell any used items in the last six months stated that they did not have any items that they could sell (29%). Respondents also shared that they usually pass their pre-loved items to family and friends (16%), did not think of selling their second-hand items (13%), did not think that they would attract enough interested buyers (10%), did not know what price to ask for their items (9%), thought the process was inconvenient (8%), or just preferred to recycle (6%).

However, when all respondents were asked to estimate how many unused items they have in their homes, 72% said that they had one to 10 items, 13% said 11 to 20, 4% said 21 to 30, and 9% said that they had over 30 items.

More than half (56%) of the respondents believe that these items could be worth up to AED 1000 ($272.5), 16% between AED 1000 – AED 2000, and 27% believed that they could be worth over AED 2000. This could fund a luxury staycation for one night at the Burj Al Arab, or even flight tickets for a weekend getaway.

“People have more unused items in their home than they think, but what they don’t realize is that they are sitting on an opportunity to supplement their earnings. Through buying or selling unused items, we can create a more sustainable and economical community,” commented Salma Anabtawi, Head of Customer Experience at dubizzle.

44% of poll respondents purchased a used item in the last six months

The poll revealed that used electronics (39%) were the most purchased items in the second-hand market, followed by home and garden equipment (33%), sport and outdoor items (6%), child and baby items (5%), and fashion and beauty items (3%).

More than half (53%) of the respondents made these purchases to upgrade their lifestyle, while 17% aimed to give the items a longer life, 14% bought the items to re-sell at a profit, and 6% bought to treat their loved ones.

 Respondents shared that the main reason for not buying used items in the last six months was that they had never thought about buying used items (29%). Other respondents preferred new items (21%), were not confident that they could get a good deal on the used item (16%), thought that the process was too much work for what they expect to get out of it (11%), or were uncomfortable exchanging a used item with someone they do not know (8%).

“When looking at the items being sold and bought through second-hand platforms, whether through dubizzle, social media or print classifieds listings, big ticket items tend to get the majority share. However, the second-hand market has a large number of items across different categories and price ranges, which does not only offer value for money but also has environmental benefits.,” concluded Anabtawi.