Used market, in 2021 at pre-Covid levels: third place among the planet’s friendly practices

The second-hand market in 2021 had a turnover of 24 billion euros, 1.4% of GDP. To act as a tow, according to the eighth edition ofSecond Hand Economy Observatory conducted by BVA Doxa for, were the online trading which now represent almost half of the total (49%), with year-on-year growth of 1 billion euros. Thus, the overall economic value of the second-hand business in 2021 returned to the levels of 2019, after the decline due to the pandemic.

I’m almost 23 million the Italians who have chosen this expression of circular economy, and 66% of those who bought have looked at second-hand items not as a fallback to the new but as a main choice, demonstrating to consider this modality as an intelligent way to make space, to give value to objects and to earn. All in the name of sustainability, which remains the first reference value of the second-hand economy (54%).

The used one keeps the third place among sustainable behaviors preferred by Italians (52%), behind separate waste collection (94%) and the purchase of LED bulbs (71%), with even higher adoption peaks in 2021 for graduates (68%), for the so-called generation Z ( 66%), in the 35-44 age group (70%) and in families with children (68%).

The second hand economy in 2021 enters in all respects among the consumption habits of Italians, thanks also to the driving role of digital, which has evolved through the introduction of increasingly integrated services, which make it possible to manage the sale entirely from smartphones , without leaving home. Immediately, for example, it has developed the Tuttosubito service, which allows you to buy and sell remotely and safely, offering a customer experience that is increasingly similar to e-commerce – commented Giuseppe Pasceri, CEO of Subito.


49% of respondents said they prefer to buy used items online because it is the faster channel43% for the variety of choices, 41% because it allows you to do everything from home and 38% appreciate the absence of timetables, you can make use of every moment of the day or night.

The buying and selling of used products seems to be increasingly integrated into the habits of Italians. The frequency of transactions continues to grow: 72% of those who bought and 69% of those who sold do so at least once every six months. In addition, 72% of buyers and 76% of sellers say they bought at least the same number of items as last year.

There reason principal for which we turn to the second-hand market was found to be savings (56%, up by 6 percentage points compared to 2020), followed by confidence in reuse to fight waste (49%) and the belief that it is a smart way of economizing that makes many objects more accessible (43%).

Those who decide to sell second hand goods it mainly does it (79% of the interviewees) to get rid of unused objects, to avoid waste (44%) and to make money (39%).


The Observatory analyzed the most traded categories and used items. In general, the volume of sales in the categories has returned to grow Engines (11.5 billion, there is a hand in the chip crisis, here the in-depth report from AutoScout24), followed by House and Person (5.7 billion) ed Electronics (4.1 billion), which maintain a constant growth trend, while after the boom of 2020 Sports and Hobbies (2.6 billion) has returned to pre-pandemic levels due to the gradual return to normal.

Specifically, the categories in 2021 more “jokes” by customers were:

  • House and Person (73%)
  • Sports and Hobbies (57%)
  • Electronics (54%)
  • Engines (32%)

While I products used most purchased online:

  • clothing and accessories (34%)
  • books and magazines (31%)
  • computer science (27%)


The category electronics had in 2021 a total turnover of 4.1 billion euros. The preferred channel was the online one, chosen by 54% of those who buy and 43% of those who sell, while the offline is stable at 23% for sales and purchases. In the sales data, a particularity is striking about smartphones that have grown over the years due to online: users are increasingly accustomed to turning to digital, so much so that in the top 10 of the most searched words on there is “iPhone”.

Specifically, Italians have mainly bought telephony, audio video devices, consoles and video games. The used in this field is not only a way to save, but it is also a smart way of find vintage items for those with a passion for retrogaming or tech modernism.


At the local level, the Observatory study shows that the higher turnover in 2021 it was in:

  • Lazio (3.4 billion euros)
  • Lombardy (3.3 billion)
  • Campania (2.4 billion),

while looking at the regions where it is earned more than the national average 2021 of 1,121 euros in the lead is Campania:

  • Campania (1,625 euros)
  • Veneto (1,383 euros)
  • Lombardy (1,339 euros)
  • Tuscany (1,208 euros)
  • Piedmont (1,147 euros)

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