Carousell Group’s Recommerce Index shows Hong Kong shoppers are embracing the secondhand market to live more sustainably

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  • The first-ever Carousell Recommerce Index (2021 Report) published by the classifieds marketplace across eight Greater Southeast Asia markets, including Hong Kong, as part of its green initiative
  • Nearly half of Hongkongers buy secondhand for environmental reasons, demonstrating a higher environmental consciousness than neighbouring markets
  • On average, Hong Kong consumers own 43 unwanted items

HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 30 November 2021 – To further cultivate a recommerce mindset and raise awareness around sustainable shopping, Carousell Group, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing classifieds marketplaces, has launched its first Carousell Recommerce Index (2021 Report), highlighting consumer buying trends across eight markets in the Greater Southeast Asia region (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam). The report relies on data from Carousell Group’s brands and the Carousell Sustainability Survey, which surveyed over 3,000 of the brand’s users, both buyers and sellers, in June 2021  By analysing the data and responses, the Group hopes to drive behavioural change for sustainability and a circular economy.

A disruptive form of e-commerce, recommerce addresses the problem of overconsumption directly through encouraging the buying and selling of preowned goods. Over recent years, the trend has seen a sharp rise across the Greater Southeast Asia region, as households become more aware of the need to shop responsibly.

Top 4 unexpected Hong Kong market facts from the report

Hong Kong is a key market for Carousell with one in five Hongkongers being Carousellers and 85% of users having made at least one secondhand purchase on the platform in the past. While secondhand has become a choice welcomed by local consumers, data that emerges from the report provides more insight into their consumption patterns.

1.       Almost half of Hongkongers, who have bought secondhand before, do so for environmental reasons, which is significantly higher than neighbouring markets 

In terms of sustainability, Hong Kong demonstrates positive results. With 45% choosing to buy secondhand for environmental reasons, the city ranked first, ahead of Singapore and Taiwan at 30%, demonstrating a higher level of eco-consciousness among Hong Kong shoppers.  16% of respondents who have bought secondhand items before also stated that they only buy secondhand where possible.


2.       Value for money comes out on top as a reason Hongkongers buy secondhand items

When it comes to the main reasons for choosing secondhand, the report results highlight that pragmatism comes out on top. The most popular reason across the region was value for money, with Hong Kong ranking highest at 85%, followed by Malaysia at 78% and Singapore and Philippines at 74%.


3.       Local consumers estimate owning 43 unwanted items that could be sold

On average, each Hong Kong user has an estimated 43 unwanted items they store in their homes that could be sold, ranking the city third after Indonesia and Taiwan with an average of 57 and 52 unwanted items respectively. The highest among age groups in the Hong Kong market, Generation X has an average of 49 unwanted items, implying that middle-aged consumers have the highest potential of shifting their overconsumption behaviour towards recommerce.


4.       The pandemic increases the demand for secondhand toys and games

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped consumer patterns and Carousell has been a key witness of these changes. Overtaking Woman’s Fashion, Toys and Games ranked as the top category with the most demand for secondhand in 2020 as social distancing regulations led to more people spending time at home. As the pandemic continues, 44% of respondents selected Toys and Games as the most comfortable secondhand item to buy and sell in 2021.

“Free Item” tops searches amongst Hongkongers

Looking at keyword search trends for both new and secondhand items as a whole, 2020 saw many shifts in demand. The report highlighted that bargain hunters in Hong Kong consistently searched for “free” items on the platform, with the total search number of free items reaching two million in three top categories: Furniture, Footwear and Books, which amount to more than 10% of the total searches.


Eager to make use of Hong Kong’s circular economy model as a potential second source of income, more Hongkongers are using secondhand platforms to increase their monthly income and Carousellers have demonstrated some encouraging optimism. Out of the respondents from Hong Kong, 18.5% estimate that the platform can help them to earn over HKD 10,000 through selling the unwanted items at home at one time.

Kevin Huang, Managing Director of Carousell Hong Kong said, “At Carousell, we regard ourselves as a disruptor that has transformed the secondhand buy-sell process into a reliable mobile experience. We are delighted to see that local consumers do not only buy secondhand items for their value, but also out of environmental concern. This is a testament of Carousell’s success in nurturing an environmentally-conscious community and we will continue to leverage our brand’s position as a sustainable shopping platform.”

Lucas Ngoo, Co-founder of Carousell Group said, “As a pioneer for mobile classifieds in the region, Carousell Group has been constantly working to remove friction and enable secure, seamless transactions. With the use of AI and data, we have been focused on accelerating our recommerce leadership in the region to make buying secondhand trusted and convenient. This, in turn, will help to solve the meaningful problem of overconsumption with recommerce and thus make secondhand the first choice for consumers.”


The Carousell Recommerce Index (2021 Report) is available for download here.

About Carousell Group

Carousell is the leading classifieds group in Greater Southeast Asia on a mission to inspire the world to start selling, and to make secondhand the first choice. Founded in August 2012 in Singapore, the group has a leading presence in eight markets under the brands Carousell,, Cho Tot, OneKyat and Ox Street, serving tens of millions of monthly active users. Carousell is backed by leading investors including Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naver, STIC Investments and Sequoia Capital India. Visit here for more information.