British Columbia

Second-hand economy on the rise in B.C., report says

According to a new Vancity report, 97 per cent of British Columbians are involved in the second-hand market, either buying, selling or donating used goods.

Vancity report estimates $1B worth of used goods bought and sold in province annually

Vanessa Timmer, author of the report, says online platforms like Craigslist make it easier than ever for British Columbians to buy and sell used goods. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

More and more British Columbians are buying and selling used, according to a new report commissioned by Vancity credit union.

According to the report, 97 per cent of British Columbians are involved in the second-hand market, either buying, selling or donating used goods.

The report estimates the second-hand economy in the province totals about $1 billion a year in sales.

Vanessa Timmer, executive director of the non-profit organization One Earth and author of the report, says affordability is one of the primary motivations for buying and selling used.

"People are wanting to find cheaper goods, and also want to sell their goods to make a bit more income," she said.

"People are really starting to think about, how can I get value from my things, rather than just having lots of material goods."

Rise of online buying and selling

The report found that 83 per cent of British Columbians have bought second-hand goods, 72 per cent have sold used goods, and 95 per cent have given away or donated used goods.

According to the report, 45 per cent of British Columbians use the money from selling their used goods to pay for basic living costs such as bills, rent or mortgage.

Timmer attributes the recent rise of the second-hand economy to the increased prevalence of online buying and selling platforms such as Craigslist and Kijiji.

Timmer hopes the report's results indicate a cultural shift away from a disposable consumer society toward one with more focus on reusing old goods and increased demand for goods that will last longer in the first place.

"I think that this is a real shift away from the mass-consumerist culture that we've been in where we're just kind of moving things through into trash," she said.

With files from Brenna Rose.

now