Savvy Malaysian shoppers see value in buying ‘not-so-new’ items

KUALA LUMPUR, 27 March 2023:

Malaysian online shoppers are increasingly searching for keywords such as ‘pre-loved’, ‘pre-owned’, ‘warehouse clearance’, ‘demo unit’ and ‘thrift’ to get better value for items purchased, instead of ‘new’.

This trend has picked up over the last three years as Shopee marketplace saw consumers putting value-based shopping into practice with a total 1.4 million items sold – of demo units, warehouse clearance items with minor defects, bundled goods, and also pre-owned products.

In a statement, the online retail platform said 50% of these were in fast-moving consumer good categories of baby and toys, groceries and pets, and health and beauty; 27% pre-owned fashion; 17% lifestyle items (home and living, outdoor sports, hobbies, games and books) and the remainder being used electronics.

The most popular warehouse clearance supplies were hand sanitisers as Malaysians increased their need for personal hygiene protection. As households economised on spending, overstock but affordable skincare, cosmetics, and personal care products were hot in demand.

Unsurprisingly, shoppers also chose ‘pre-owned’ over ‘new’ with baby and children accessories, baby and children toys, and pet accessories that get outgrown with age.

“Value-based shopping is clearly the future,” noted marketing head Kenneth Soh.

“Generation Z shoppers on our marketplace are telling us with their keyword searches that for every 6 times they look for something new, 4 other times, they are looking for something pre-loved, recycled, reused or display units. They are exercising their purchasing power in a very deliberate way.”

He said stock listings showed an estimated 15% increase in pre-loved items in February this year, compared to the same month last year.

“Influencers’ content on Shopee Live has also been shifting to cater to value-based and purposeful shopping decisions. Throughout the last three years, livestream sellers recorded four times more pre-loved orders sold and twice as much live streaming content for pre-owned products compared to new products.

“This could be attributed to the authenticity generated by influencers demonstrating pre-loved units in their genuine condition along with positive messages shaping sustainable mindsets.”

he said shoppers keen to support recommerce can type the following keywords on Shopee’s search bar: “pre-loved”, “bundled”, “warehouse clearance”, “thrift”, “second hand”, “used”, “demo unit” and “pre-owned”.

In line with this trend, he said Shopee has introduced from March 24 the ‘Change of Mind’ option – a free return and refund feature for the entire fashion segment on the marketplace, to enable a ‘want not, waste not’ mindset this Ramadan and Raya.