Prairie residents spend and earn the most in second-hand economy: report

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Reports finds Prairie residents spend and earn the most in second-hand economy
WATCH ABOVE: Canada's second-hand economy continues to thrive, according to a new study. As Katelyn Wilson explains, it's also putting more money in our pockets – Feb 20, 2018

If you buy and sell used items you can earn nearly $2,000 over the course of a year, which is more than the average annual pay increase for full-time employees in Canada, according to the 2018 Second-Hand Economy Index Report.

The report released by Kijiji estimates $28.5 billion worth of second-hand items changed hands in 2017. The report says more Canadians than ever are getting in on the action of buying or selling, along with swapping, renting or donating second-hand items.

Mommy blogger Tenille Lafontaine said second-hand shopping has become a popular choice among parents.

“Really through that zero to three range for sure kids grow so fast that they don’t get a lot of wear out of clothes,” she explained. “So when you buy them second hand you’ll find that they’re almost new or next to new.”

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It’s no surprise then that families with children are leading participants when it comes to buying and selling used goods.

“When you look at the top five items that are the most traded in the second-hand economy, the first one is clothing, clothing overall, then you have entertainment goods like CDs and books and then number three is baby items,” Marie Connolly, University of Quebec economics professor and one of the lead researchers involved in the study said.

The volume of items exchanged in the second-hand economy continues to rise, with Canadians giving second life to 2.3 billion items in 2017, which is an average of 80 items being acquired or disposed of per person.

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Compared to other regions, prairie residents spend and earn the most, an average of $756 per person last year.

“We asked people their motivations and the one that came out on top was financial,” Connolly said.

Millennials and and households with an annual income of more than $200,000 are also big participants according to the study.

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“People that have more money, that earn more money have more money to spend, and so they’re going to spend more both on the regular economy, so buying new goods, but they’re also going to spend more money in the used goods market as well,” Connolly said.

Online sites like Kijiji and VarageSale give new life to gently used items for a fraction of the price.

“In the past dozen years or so I’ve seen a vast increase in second hand stores in our province [Saskatchewan], group sales, online sales,” Lafontaine said. “Anything like that where people are purchasing second-hand and then taking their items that they’ve used and loved and then selling and recouping some of that money back.”

Based on the data Connolly explained, the second-hand economy is an enduring and thriving part of life in Canada.

“People continue to turn to it to save money, earn money, declutter their lives and pass along useful things that might benefit someone else,” she said.

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