Second-hand economy booms in Alberta amid increase in online buy-and-sell group membership

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Second-hand economy booms in Alberta
WATCH: Alberta is one of the leaders when it comes to participating in the second-hand economy. Global's Tomasia DaSilva explains why we're cashing in, and the new tools we're using to save and make money – Sep 17, 2018

Canadians, especially Albertans, are cashing in on the second-hand economy — which includes buying, selling, exchanging, renting or donating goods — in huge numbers.

“Essentially everyone wants to save money at the end of the day,” Kijiji Canada’s Kent Sikstrom said.

Sikstrom adds not only are we saving money, we’re also making money — billions of dollars.

It’s an amount that’s only expected to grow, thanks to the increase in social media buy-and-sell sites.

“Facebook has been a big part, a major part,” avid seller Jim G. Hughes said.

Hughes was one of the administrators for one of Calgary’s largest Facebook buy-and-sell sites, called Calgary Online Garage Sale, before deciding to make a move to Ontario.

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“I’d say the pros are: you do get to meet a lot of excellent people. You do find some amazing deals. You do find exactly what you want and at a better price,” Hughes said.

These sites are just the latest boon to the second-hand economy.

The 4th Annual Kijiji Second-Hand Economy Index found:

  • 85 per cent of Canadians surveyed participated in the second-hand economy in 2017
  • They exchanged an average of 80 used goods each
  • The transactions represented a dollar value of $28.5 billion

People in Alberta had some of the highest numbers across the country:

  • 99.7 per cent of those surveyed participated in the second-hand economy in 2017
  • They exchanged more than 90 items each
  • They earned about $659 each
  • They saved $952 each
  • The transactions represented a dollar value of $4.4 billion

Kijiji’s Kent Sikstrom isn’t surprised people in Alberta are so involved in the second-hand economy.

“When times are tough, especially financially or economically — when you have a family to support — you’re really looking for an avenue to save money.”

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But can you make a living just participating in the second-hand economy?

On Tuesday, the Global News series continues with one woman who has turned her hobby into a job.

Methodology: The 4th Annual Kijiji Second-Hand Economy Index survey was conducted online for the Observatoire de la consommation responsable (OCR) of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) in partnership with MBA Recherche between Sept. 18, 2017 to Oct. 12, 2017. Primary data were collected using a sample of 5,625 respondents aged 18 and older representative of the Canadian population. Respondents were selected from a pan-Canadian web panel according to pre-specified retention criteria such as gender, age and place of residence. Given that responses were obtained from a panel, computation of the margin of error does not apply. The aggregation of these results to produce an estimate of the size of the second-hand economy in Canada is based on the assumption that the economic value of second-hand transactions is representative of goods not only bought and sold, but also acquired or disposed of through non-monetary transactions. 

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