Consumer Participation in Online Second-Hand Transactions: History
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Subjects: Social Issues
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Consumer participation in second-hand transactions is increasing, facilitated by digital platforms in the form of apps or websites. We obtain that the use of online platforms to buy or rent second-hand goods is more likely when being male, relatively young, with children, a frequent internet user, with employment and living in a household with some price-consciousness and environmental awareness. The scarcity of brick-and-mortar stores in the area and car ownership can also increase demand for used goods through online platforms.


  • second-hand shopping
  • P2P consumption

1. Economic Variables

Research on collaborative consumption (CC) points to the relevance of economic factors in explaining why individuals engage in this form of consumption [8], especially the aim of saving money [29] associated to price-consciousness [30]. We obtain that consumers with price-awareness have smaller odds of participating in second-hand online transactions.

Income is another economic factor worth mentioning. Income could increase the use of second-hand online platforms, since those could attract wealthy consumers, in the form of materialistic and indulgent consumption [5]. We obtain results that confirm the hypothesis that low-earner groups (students, unemployed, non-employed) are less likely to engage in online second-hand markets.

2. Situational Variables

Situational factors include aspects like physical surroundings, temporal perspectives, or antecedent states [26,27].

For instance, if the number of retail stores in the geographic area is low, stores would be more expensive and less accessible, leading consumers to turn to online second-hand markets. Our results back this hypothesis.

At the same time, owning a car may increase the use of second-hand platforms, since (even if consumers’ browsing and negotiation of prices takes place online) closing the transaction generally entails an actual face-to-face meeting where the potential buyer can actually check the state of the good and consumers actually tend to pay in cash when meeting [1]. Our results also confirm this effect..

3. Individual characteristics

Age is a socio-demographic factor worth mentioning. We presume that generally the elderly will be less likely to engage in online second-hand markets. They can trust less (or stigmatize more) the idea of buying second-hand goods from unknowns through webs/apps. Our results confirm that the participation in online second-hand markets decreases for senior citizens.

Regarding gender, some surveys on the use of sharing economy in Spain have obtained that being a female is likely to increase participation [35], although these authors caution that this merits further research. In our case, being a male increases participation.
Another factor to consider is the fact of having children because of the transitory need for special items [42]. Some children goods are relatively expensive and durable, and second-hand marketplaces offer an opportunity to buy these products (and resell them after some years too). This, coupled with parents’ lack of time and the fact that product browsing can be done from home at any time of the day [36], can explain why having children may increase participation in online second-hand goods [9,43,44], even if hygiene and safety concerns could be a refraining factor for parents [44]. Our results confirm that having children increases the use of second-hand platforms.

Regarding the impact of the level of studies and skills, we focus specifically on skills related to internet tools, using as a proxy the frequency of use. Skilled and frequent internet users have more confidence in second-hand platforms and are more likely to value the convenience and/or the quality of an app/website vis-à-vis face-to-face shopping. We obtain that spending time online increases the likelihood of buying used products through online platforms.

Finally, environmental concerns are a driver of participation in different forms of the sharing economy and CC with a potential impact on sustainability, such as carpooling [29]. In the same vein, altruistic factors and the contribution to collective goods can be a motivation for engaging in second-hand transactions [31,45]. In this regard, we obtain that individuals’ environmental awareness (proxied by individuals pertaining to households with solar panels) encourages the use of second-hand online platforms.

This entry is adapted from the peer-reviewed paper 10.3390/su14074318

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