Carousell Is Encouraging Singaporeans To Make Buying Secondhand Our First Choice

By now, Carousell needs no introduction. As one of the most popular homegrown marketplace platforms in Asia, one that facilitates the buying and selling of new and secondhand goods, it’s our go-to when selling pre-loved and pre-owned ware, and personally, a treasure trove for rare vintage pieces or items you’d love to splurge on without paying full price. Case in point: Rolex watches.

There’s a reason why we brought that up. The covetable Rolex watch, the AG06 (Yahama Channel Mixer), and Road Bikes are Singaporeans’ top three most searched keywords for secondhand items on the platform — an interesting insight revealed as part of the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Carousell Recommerce Index, their study of recommerce trends across Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

According to Carousell, fashion and hobby items, as well as home and furniture goods such as IKEA bookshelves and storage items, don’t fall far behind either when it comes to our nation’s collective interest too.

Singaporeans Are More Open To Buying Secondhand — And Here’s Why

All this makes for encouraging news: Singaporeans may be more open to buying secondhand than we might think. While we love a good deal — here’s looking at you 11/11 and 12/12 sales — there seems to be a general acceptance, and proliferation, of buying secondhand. As it stands, 1 in 3 Singaporeans are using Carousell every month.

Carousell certainly makes this process much easier with its user-friendly interface, while facilitating safe communication between buyers and sellers, an added comfort for first-time users. The stigma of buying and selling “used” items is a lot less these days, as we’ve noticed how quickly our listed office items get snapped up in a matter of days. Most sellers are often eager to declutter their home, while a skilled service provider may also be into repairing and refurbishing old items.

Then again, we can’t discount our price sensitive-nature too. A study conducted by iAB and Carousell Media Group revealed that Singaporeans topped the chart with 44% choosing “saving money” as their key motivation for buying secondhand. We’re sure you can relate — especially when it comes to, you know, Rolex watches. Other reasons for shopping secondhand include concerns about climate change and environmental impact as well.

Here are other key trends specific to Singapore and our favourite secondhand items:

  • Top 3 most popular categories (to sell): Fashion, Hobbies & Toys, Home & Furniture
  • Top 3 most popular categories (to browse): Fashion, Hobbies & Toys, Home & Furniture
  • Top 3 most searched keywords for secondhand items: Rolex, AG06 (Yahama Channel Mixer) and Road Bike

What Is Recommerce, And Why Is It Important For Sustainability

Recommerce, or reverse commerce, refers to the selling and buying of previously-owned products, including both new and used in condition. It’s also casually-termed as thrifting, or buying secondhand.

If you’re wondering what buying pre-loved has to do with sustainability, think of it this way. Take a ski jacket for instance, a perhaps lesser-worn item in your wardrobe but still a ‘want’ on your next winter holiday. By buying the pre-loved product secondhand, from a previous owner who might have just tossed it away, you’re single-handedly reducing potential waste and extending the life cycle of the garment. Bonus: it’ll be cheaper than a brand-new item too!

On a larger scale, the cost of production of water and energy that goes into making the item, or its environmental footprint, will also be reduced.

“We dream of a world where people instinctively sell their under-utilised items instead of letting them go to waste, and where others buy them as a first choice,” says Lucas, Marcus and Siu Rui, the co-founders of Carousell. 

Carousell’s Impact On Sustainable, Secondhand Shopping

While the idea of thrifting isn’t new, the platform does make the movement easier and more accessible, by connecting willing buyers and sellers in an engaged community of like-minded individuals. Each transaction, big or small, helps extend the lifespan of items, be they clothes, furniture, or electronics.

The statistics in the Recommerce Index further reveal Carousell’s decade-worth impact on sustainable shopping. Over the past decade, Carousell users across Asia have extended the life cycle of millions of items, including: 76.8 million fashion items; 33.9 million electronics; 26.6 million hobby items and toys; 11.1 million home items and furniture; and 10.6 million babies & kids items.

To make it easier for us to understand, the report presents these in pretty fun illustrations. For one, if we take the total number of used fashion listings on Carousell, then every single person in Singapore can have at least 13 outfits in their (new or pre-loved) wardrobes. Additionally, assuming all used electronics listed are iPhone Xs, the total height of them all stacked together is the equivalent of over 23,500 times the height of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

The report covers data from 9 of the Carousell Group’s family of brands across the Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan markets — including Carousell, Cho Tot, Laku6,, OneKyat, One Shift, Ox Luxe, Ox Street, and Refash.

To drive the next decade of recommerce in the region, Carousell is currently working on additional user features and services that make buying secondhand items as trusted and convenient as buying brand new ones — we’re definitely staying tuned for these.


More from the Carousell Recommerce Index (10th anniversary edition), here