The second-hand economy is staying strong in Regina despite the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from online market place Kijiji.
Stew Fettes is living proof.
“I sold about $35,000 worth on Kijiji here in the last couple weeks,” said the long-time Regina resident. “Anything over $20 I’ll throw on Kijiji, and I got lots of that, I’ll tell ya!”
The 77-year-old says he’s owned six businesses over his career, and has thus accumulated a vast and varied collection of things. By his count, he’s looking to sell about 300 items in total — stuff he’d intended to vend from his garage before COVID-19 rained on his parade.
“What you see in this garage is everything I’ve accumulated over forty-five years,” Fetes explained. “I was planning a big, gigantic garage sale, but because of social distancing I can’t sell a thing out of my garage right now.”
Recent data from Kijiji would suggest he’s not alone in sharpening his online-sales savvy.
The organization says that while total listings have decreased, the number of replies in a number of categories that Kijiji called “trends indicating that Canadians were planning to stay home,” have increased.
“We do see lower numbers of listings in different categories across the Regina market, however, the level of engagement on the site has actually either remained net neutral or even increased depending on the category,” said Kijiji Community Relations Manager Kent Sikstrom.
“Regardless of what’s happening in the world, people want to find a good deal.”
Sikstrom said Kijiji surveys have shown economic, altruistic and ecological reasons as the main motivators for use of the site.
Their latest Second-hand Economy Index shows the sector has seen steady growth over the past five years and predicted it to be worth 1.23 per cent of Canada’s GDP in 2019.
Sikstrom added that regardless of the platform’s success, the safety of the Kijiji community “remains a top priority,” and that since March 13 the website has been running PSAs “asking users to consider whether a transaction is necessary right now and to follow Health Canada’s guidelines.”
Information on Kijiji’s website suggests staying home when sick, maintaining 2 metres distance if meeting and cleaning all transferred items, in accordance with Health Canada guidelines.
So if you’re in the market to sell, and can do so safely, how can you increase your odds of making an internet-enabled sale?
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Business veteran Stew Fettes (who places sold items on his porch and collects payments online or in his mailbox) says it’s all about pictures, and the pitch.
“I’m pretty good at the write-ups. You gotta put in the ‘who, what, when, where, why’ of the product,” he said. “Just give them the facts, and get them interested.”
Regina resident Stew Fettes sits in front of his stuff-filled garage.