Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Buy second hand to cross the holidays without breaking the bank

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The rise in popularity of websites like Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji and LesPAC explains in particular this phenomenon.

  • Élyse Allard (View profile)Élyse Allard

While the Quebec economy is theoretically in recession, more and more consumers are are turning to second-hand items to complete their holiday purchases.

At least this is what the director of the Research Laboratory on New Forms of Consumption at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi (UQAC), Myriam Ertz, notes, who attributes this phenomenon in particular to the rise in popularity of websites like Facebook. Marketplace, Kijiji and LesPAC.

In 2015, researchers, including Professor Ertz, created the Kijiji Second-Hand Economy Index, a large study that measured the purchasing practices of Canadians for used items and their impact on economy. Since then, this trend has grown, believes Myriam Ertz, who sees a direct link with the current economic situation.

With inflation then the rise in rates, [buyers] will move more towards more economical options.

A quote from Myriam Ertz, director of the Laboratory research on new forms of consumption

And gifts would not be exempt: [It] is a practice that has become normalized over time to buy second-hand products to give to other people, explains Professor Ertz, which notes, among the most popular purchases, toys, board games, fashion accessories (such as handbags), books and electronic products, often refurbished.

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Myriam Ertz is a professor of marketing at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi. (Archive photo)

Rue Saint-Denis, in Montreal, the owner of Arthur et Juno, Audrey Auvinet, sells toys and used clothing for children. She notices that her customer base triples in the weeks before the holidays: There is a […] growing trend toward used Christmas gifts. More and more people are also telling their families: "I want second hand for Christmas."

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Its customers cite not only their ecological values ​​but also their finances as their primary motivation. This is the case of Pier-Anne Bilodeau, who purchased second-hand designer clothes for her niece.

[It's] really better for the environment and, what's more, [the children] get through it so quickly! […] I don't think it's necessarily worth making an investment

A quote from Pier-Anne Bilodeau, customer at Arthur and Juno's boutique

On the other hand, a few kilometers further, on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, the advisor at the retro boutique La Pompadour, Jennifer Desmeules, deplores the fact that some customers are still hesitant to give used items as gifts. However, she emphasizes, these period objects are often unique and of high quality, in addition to striking a nostalgic chord with consumers.

Following a survey published on the company's Instagram account, the advisor noted that there are many taboos regarding buying [a present] that has already been used. For example, those who receive them might believe that second-hand accessories are less hygienic than new ones, even though the store's merchandise is cleaned before being sold.

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The advisor at the retro boutique La Pompadour Jennifer Desmeules deplores the fact that some customers are still hesitant to offer the used as a gift.

However, the economic argument could one day prevail over these preconceived ideas, according to what Professor Myriam observes Ertz: Second-hand products often have prices four to five times lower than new ones, so it is certain that when there is a complex economic situation like the one we find ourselves in currently, the people, on their own, will go towards these kinds of options.

  • Élyse Allard (View profile)Élyse AllardFollow

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