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A piece on sustainability and the secondary market by Robin Gray, MD of the UK's leading online auction house.
3 Mins

Can the secondary market save Christmas?

Robin Gray
Robin Gray

First of all, what is the secondary market? 

Sometimes talked about under the heading of reverse logistics, the secondary market is essentially a place to buy and sell goods that have been purchased and returned in a way which makes it difficult or impossible for the retailer to sell them as new via their normal channels.

Why do I care? 

It’s a happy hunting ground for bargain seekers who can capitalise on opportunities where larger retailers are victims of their own scale, making it easier for them to heavily discount these goods rather than sort and cycle them back around to retail outlets. Often, they have little or nothing wrong with them, but have been misdelivered or unwanted gifts.

So, can the secondary market save Christmas?

The secondary market is for life, not just for Christmas!.......

Do you, like me, find the run up to Christmas a stressful period? Are you terrified at the prospect of trying to dodge terrible adverts, dwindling bank balances & Covid-ridden high streets all to a backdrop of Mariah Carey?

Actually, 2021 has an even more ear bashing soundtrack!

It’s the guilt-inducing crescendo of the climate crisis and COP 26 has turned the volume up to 11. 

Driving your 3ltr Range Rover Sport to the shopping centre to buy a hatful of shiny new toys made in Taiwan, only for them to end up in the bin three months later is not going to cut it. In fact, it’s your children themselves that are most likely to scorn you for such antics. Either now, in the style of Greta Thunberg, or worse still, in 30 years’ time when the brutal impact of your indulgence has forced them all into veganism.

It’s no longer cool for your kids to turn up to school in the latest designer clothes. The youth of today want pre-loved clobber. And not just that, they want provenance! They want to know how many different people have already loved it. They want authenticity. They don’t want the label to bear the name of the designer, they want it to bear the name of the last owner. 

So, what the hell do you do now?

Wake up and smell the landfill!

The secondary market can save you. It can save Christmas, and it can save the planet.

Of course, that’s not entirely true. The journey we are all on together is a long and difficult one, but if we are to tackle the climate crisis and issues of sustainability effectively then we need to recognise that “it’s better to do something than nothing” as Tessa Clarke, co-founder of food sharing app OLIO lays out in her top 5 sustainability tips.

Making a conscious decision to change those long-engrained habits of buying new and wasting plenty is a good way to start. The secondary market makes that an accessible and realistic possibility and with Christmas around the corner, it’s the perfect time to get your teeth into it, guilt-free, like a zero-calorie fudge cake!

Our website provides the platform for everyone from large retailers to individuals to give a new lease of life to quality products that may otherwise go unloved or worse still, dumped altogether. For the discerning and environmentally conscious buyer, it offers the chance to save more than just money.

Shopping in this way helps support the circular economy, reduces waste, and forces retailers to consider their practices by shining a light on the vibrancy and opportunity in the secondary market. There is overwhelming evidence to support the claim that there is increased demand and loyalty for socially responsible companies. According to the National Retail Federation and IBM, 57% of consumers are willing to change their habits to reduce environmental impact.

Start your 2022 new year’s resolution early and browse our retail returns this Christmas as a win-win alternative to burning coal for fun!