Singapore’s Clutter Has Met Its Match: The Second-Hand Goods Market
Carousell’s Heroes Don’t Wear Capes survey reveals 70% of Singaporeans are sitting on as much as S$500 worth of underused items
Singapore, 24 June 2017 – When it comes to dealing with underused items around the house, Singaporeans’ first instinct may not be to take out the trash. A new survey conducted this month by mobile classifieds marketplaceCarousell finds that 96% of Singaporeans aged 20-40 desire a less cluttered living space, and more than half (60%) of them would consider giving underused items a new lease of life rather than throwing them away.
Carousell’s Heroes Don’t Wear Capes survey was designed to find out people’s attitudes toward Singapore’s second-hand market and their motivations for buying and selling preloved items. The report surveyed 1,000 people in Singapore between the ages of 20-40.
The majority of Singaporeans are aware and already participate in the second-hand market in some form. About 80% of respondents recirculate idle belongings by buying and selling them on the second-hand goods market, from flea markets to social media and even on online marketplaces. Marcus Tan, Co-founder and President of Carousell highlights, “In a bid to declutter and earn some extra cash, the activities of buying and selling second-hand goods have evolved to become significantly more entrenched in Singapore’s economy and Singaporean lives.”
Crouching clutter, hidden fortune
The emergence of the second-hand market can largely be attributed to the incentives of recirculating underused items, instead of discarding them. When asked about what drives people to buy and sell second-hand, a whopping 84% of Singaporeans underlined the monetary benefits: they can get a better deal from buying preloved, and make extra cash by selling items they no longer need.
The value in underused items can be significant. In terms of how they perceive the worth of their underused items, about 70% of people in Singapore believe that they could make as much as S$500 from selling them; 15% think they can make up to over S$1,000.
However, there is a lot more value to be unlocked in selling preloved items. According to Carousell’s internal data, users earned a historical average of more than S$4,000 to date. Carousellers also list on average about 30 items.
Amid concerns over the rising levels of e-waste in Singapore, the second-hand market is quickly becoming an alternative destination for electronics. Electronics and mobile devices emerged as the most popular underused items that (78%) Singaporeans are looking to revive in the second-hand market. This is followed by women’s fashion (40.2%) and textbooks (38.6%). Overall, 77% of people believe that they have as many as 29 underused items in their homes.
Give-away, not throw-away
Despite the lure of extra cash, when asked to choose how they will typically rid their homes of underused items, Singaporeans have a big heart. The poll showed that majority of Singaporeans would choose to give things away or donate to charity before selling on the second-hand market. This was the same for their Taiwanese counterparts, in a similar survey commissioned in May 2017, an overwhelming majority of Taiwanese would give their second-hand goods to others or choose to donate while considering the option of a mobile marketplace.
The research findings also suggest that Singaporeans attach sentimental value to their unused or underused belongings, and are not too eager to throw them away. Almost 30% of the people surveyed say the toughest part of letting these items go are their associated memories – about the same proportion of respondents who feel that throwing them away would be a waste of money (29%).
Heroes Don’t Wear Capes
For users like Jerome Soh, a 32-year old executive in the legal industry, who has been with Carousell since 2014, they turn to the second-hand goods market to keep old traditions alive. Jerome expressed, “There’s a vibrant community of retro collectors spreading old-school joy via Carousell. Being a part of this community is a personal outlet for myself and many others to introduce the younger generation to what we grew up with, especially retro-gaming!”
In tandem with Carouselland, the new Heroes Don’t Wear Capes initiative will be launched to celebrate Carousellers, who use the powerful technology of Carousell to improve the lives of the community or save the community from waste and excess.
Marcus shares, “We have seen many users turn to the Carousell community to meet people with similar interests, which has helped to grow an active second-hand market here. It is heartening to see that at the core of the thriving second-hand economy lies a community of Heroes – like-minded people who believe that changing the way we consume things can make life more meaningful. This year, we are hosting Carouselland, our largest marketplace to connect communities in Singapore, building such meaningful connections around buying and selling is increasingly important, and so we’ve made it a point to find ways to bring them together.”
Over 400 sellers at Carouselland
Carouselland was the most recent of these initiatives. It was the biggest marketplace event that Carousell has ever had in Singapore. Held on June 24-25, 400 popular sellers from the Carousell community came together to celebrate users of the second-hand market who have made a difference in their communities.
“The Carousell community has never ceased to inspire us every single day. They keep us going to solve the very real global problem of overconsumption and waste. In a way, we see many of our users as everyday heroes – defenders of a more meaningful way of life. A big focus for us right now is on recognising more of these users. This calls for more celebrations in time to come,” Marcus enthused.