Bitkom survey: 7 out of 10 Germans sell used things online

42 percent of German citizens advertise children’s toys on the re-commerce platforms.


The unworn dress that has been hanging in the closet with a sign for a year, unloved Christmas presents, or books that you will never read again: all of these things find new owners on the Internet via so-called reselling platforms. The sale of used goods via online platforms such as Ebay, Momox, Rebuy and Co. has been booming for a long time. A recent report from US second-hand retailer Thredup predicts the sector will grow 69 percent by 2021.

A new study by the digital association Bitkom, which is exclusively available to in advance, confirms the second-hand trend: 72 percent of people in Germany sell used or new items online at least once a year. That is seven out of ten consumers. A good one in four even sells second-hand goods at least once a month. These are the results of a representative survey of 1,002 people in Germany aged 16 and over. Most of the respondents want to get rid of clothing, shoes and accessories for adults (69 percent), but children’s clothing (56 percent) and children’s toys are also popular on the resale platforms (43 percent). Even broken electronic parts can still make money online: Eight percent of those surveyed have advertised a defective device.

When it comes to sales, many consumers now also rely on professional platforms such as momox or rebuy: According to the Bitkom study, every second respondent uses these offers to sell books, films or games. These are booming in the corona crisis, as Momox managing director Heiner Kroke recently confirmed, as Germans have time in lockdown to clear out their cupboards and shelves. The best known, however, are still the large portals for sales between private individuals: Most online sellers (62 percent) use Ebay, Ebay classified ads or Amazon Marketplace. Social networks are also increasingly replacing the classic flea market: 22 percent of online sellers have gotten rid of their used items on Facebook Marketplace, for example.

Portals such as Ebay and Amazon are replacing traditional classified ads in newspapers

The advantage of these online re-commerce dealers over the classic second-hand shops or flea markets: “There is a suitable offer for almost every item and every need,” says Dr. Christophe Meinecke, Head of Digital Transformation at Bitkom. “The platforms and portals have now almost completely replaced the classic classifieds business in newspapers.”

At the same time, the price pressure on the Internet seems to be higher. 69 percent of those surveyed said they were annoyed about the low prices for their goods. Especially with professional buying and selling platforms such as Zalando Zirkel or Momox, customers have to transfer up to 70 percent commission of the resale price to the re-commerce retailer, but they do all the work for that. At the same time, these platforms also have the advantage that they protect the seller and his data. This point seems to be a major concern of consumers: 52 percent of the study participants see it as a disadvantage that they sometimes have to reveal their mobile phone number or address in order to communicate with the buyer.

Second-hand resellers put to the test: Vinted, Momox, Zalando Zircle and Sellpy


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