Data provided by Donedeal.ie indicates a 215% increase in the online secondhand market in the past five years, at a time when high-street retail figures were hit by the aftermath of the recession.
The author of Second Hand Ireland, economist David McWilliams, said the boom in online secondhand sales was nothing short of a retail revolution and that it would continue to grow in the future.
DoneDeal valued goods traded on its site at over €300m per month last year. It features 157,000 adverts placed on its site monthly across 207 sections.
The three most popular sections in terms of adverts placed last year were Motor with 46% of searches, House & DIY at 17%, and Electronics with 8%.
Last year’s most popular search was “BMW”, sought some 2,244,638 times. There were 792,020 searches for “John Deere”, 475,902 searches for “iPhone”, 421,808 for “sofa”, and 154,309 searches for “bike”.
Outlining how the online secondhand market could now account for as much as 3% of Ireland’s GNP, David McWilliams said: “The Irish economy has reached a tipping point. What started out as a small bunch of online traders has become a mass retail movement. This is changing the way we shop, forever.
“The figures for the volumes buying and selling through the DoneDeal site alone are truly staggering and the long term-impact of all this commercial activity on the economy will be extraordinary.”
He said secondhand Ireland was not only here to stay, but that it was the future and was growing exponentially.
Another argument put forward in the report is that savings made through online buying and selling were now contributing to a greater extent to covering costs associated with other areas of Irish life, such as studying in college, getting married, moving into a new home, and starting a family and raising children.
Donedeal.ie is Ireland’s largest online secondhand retail platform and has on average about 600,000 visits per day.
Figures included in the report indicate 486,452 unique sellers, 1.89m adverts placed on it in 2014, and a 32% increase in the number of new accounts.
The average price of an item sold on the website is now €158, and the report indicates that 57% of DoneDeal visits are now done through its app and the mobile web. The company was formed in 2005.
Company chief executive John Warburton said the report illustrated the “the significant growth and contribution” the online second-hand market was making to the Irish economy.
Meanwhile, the Dublin-based European Consumer Centre warned those seeking to buy a car online to take extra precautions to avoid being scammed.
It said car purchase scams accounted for 14% of all car purchase queries to ECC Ireland last year, with issues including the buyer seeking payment by money/bank transfer and consumers being asked to send payment to an intermediary, such as an escrow company.
The ECC said those looking to buy needed to inspect the vehicle beforehand and to get any details or representations about the car in writing from the seller. It added that consumers should also make themselves aware of their rights after purchase, including their right to bring a claim against the seller. It said more information was available on eccireland.ie.