Increase in demand for second-hand goods


By CY LEE

Customers can enjoy savings of 30% to 50% when buying used goods from second-hand stores. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

Buying second-hand items has become somewhat trendy as more people warm up to the idea that there are gems to be discovered among upcycled and pre-loved goods.

There are a number of places one can hunt for these types of items nowadays, with some businesses catering to specific goods.

From flea markets targeting collectors such as the one in Amcorp Mall to bundle stores selling clothes and car boot sales like the ones organised by Rapid KL at several LRT stations – these are just some examples of where savings and sometimes treasures can be found.

While bazaars and car boot sales are unable to operate under the movement control order, second-hand dealers are reaping the benefits of the rise in demand for used goods.

Cash Converters senior manager Bob Loh said its eight stores have seen a bump in demand for used items since the pandemic started.

Family-oriented items such as household, hobby and fashion products as well as toys have always been in steady demand, he said.

“Many customers come in to shop for items ranging from small appliances to furniture, music equipment, jewellery and even branded handbags, ” he said, referring to sales activity before the Covid-19 outbreak.

With the move to online classes and work from home policies in place now, it is no surprise that gadgets and laptops are the fastest moving items.

“Gaming consoles like Nintendo Switch and PlayStation as well as laptops and conference equipment have been snapped up like hot cakes, ” added Loh.

“With laptops, we are selling as many as two or three times more during the pandemic and we can’t even keep them in the store sometimes for more than one day.

“Other items like kitchen appliances, pots and pans are also doing well and we have customers buying those everyday, some of them to start a home business.

“Some do not wish to invest much at first, so they come to us.”

He added that the sale of bicycles also picked up after the announcement that recreational activities could resume after the first movement control order last year, while there was a drop in demand for baby strollers as many were worried in terms of hygiene.

Loh said depending on the item, prices of used items could be 30% to 50% lower than what they retail for new.

The business also buys second-hand items that are brought in by customers and prices are determined based on demand for the product, condition and market price.

“Our main business is selling second-hand items, but on and off, we get people walking in to sell their items for fast cash, ” he said.

“There are also those who relocate or simply want to do a major clean-up of their store room.

“Sometimes, customers sell things that they have not even used.”

Inside the Cash Converters store in Ampang Point, a wide range of electrical appliances labelled as new can be seen for sale.

Loh said these were often bought from businesses when they discontinued a model or went out of business.

He added that many of the store’s customers were in their 40s and below.

“I think this is because the younger generation is becoming aware of efforts to try and extend the life cycle of products, ” he said.

Loh believed the market for second-hand goods was not susceptible to economic downturns and expected it to grow slowly in the near future.

While some may still be hesitant about buying used items, Loh reassured that items bought from customers are inspected, cleaned and made presentable before being placed on the shelves for sale.

“We encourage customers to test an item before purchasing and for electrical items, we have a 30-day warranty, ” he said.

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