Classifieds Marketplaces Europe’s
How to make second-hand
Classifieds Marketplaces Europe (CME) stands out as a leader in the transition to a circular economy.
Our members’ marketplaces facilitate transactions of mainly second-hand goods between private individuals and local businesses. We help people to find jobs, homes, vacation rentals and motor or alternative vehicles.
We stand at a critical juncture in history, the urgent need to address climate change calls for a transformative approach to our existing economic models, guiding the EU towards becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Online secondhand marketplaces have a key role to play in enabling the twin green and digital transitions which aim to reshape our societies and economies.
We believe that this goal should remain a key priority for the upcoming European Commission and Parliament (2024-2029). Not all online marketplaces are the same. Within Europe’s diverse digital economy, Classifieds Marketplaces Europe (CME) stands out as a leader in the transition to a circular economy.
Our members’ marketplaces facilitate transactions of mainly second-hand goods between private individuals and local businesses. We help people to find jobs, homes, vacation rentals and motor or alternative vehicles. Second-hand trade contributes to reducing waste, conserving resources, and lowering carbon emissions associated with the production of new goods. This focus underlines our unique position in the digital tech ecosystem and our commitment to the European Digital and Green Agenda.
CME, the voice of European second-hand marketplaces, urges European policymakers to take the following crucial steps in their upcoming mandate to establish an EU policy framework that enhances competitiveness and fosters innovation in the tech and second-hand sector through:
➔ Launching a strategy to promote second-hand trade
Create a second-hand plan for Europe:
The next European Commission should present a plan to boost European second-hand trade. It is essential that this plan is data-driven and considers current laws that restrict second-hand sales and give a clear encouragement for new incentives to enhance the appeal of purchasing products already in circulation within the internal market.
Adopt a cross-cutting second-hand lens:
To advance towards a circular economy, all policy proposals with significant economic and environmental implications should be designed through a second-hand lens, alongside other critical factors. This implies that policies should not only encourage, but require a second-hand perspective — a crucial yet often neglected element in circular economy discussions — particularly in areas like consumer protection, advertising, and regulations governing online marketplaces. This could be achieved by mandating that impact assessments must account for second-hand trade — including Consumer to Consumer, Consumer to Business, and Business to Consumer — when laying the groundwork for new proposals
➔ Boosting second-hand business and reuse
Partnership and collaboration:
With our unique offer and service, we are proud to be pioneers in changing consumption habits. As second-hand online marketplaces, we are at the forefront of the circular economy, but collaboration is key. We need regulations that support innovation and incentives from governments, advocacy from NGOs, and most importantly, an informed
consumer base. Our commitment extends beyond providing a platform for second-hand
goods; we aim to educate our customers about the sustainability choices they’re making. Together, we can shift perceptions, stimulate demand for second-hand goods, and advance the circular economy.
Reduce the VAT rate on repaired and secondhand goods:
Online marketplaces that facilitate trade in second-hand goods empower Europeans to foster a circular economy and support local communities. To support the ecological transition
and kickstart circularity, tax incentives are essential in promoting the economic viability of local actors actively contributing to the circularity of the economy. Introducing a reduced VAT rate on repaired and second-hand goods would encourage businesses to enter the second-hand market instead of selling new products, for example.
Make Europe the ‘Silicon Valley for Reuse’:
Circular economy initiatives often focus too narrowly on production and waste. Data from
Statista reveals that a broader perspective is needed: The worldwide revenue from circular
economy transactions is anticipated to more than double by 2026, while the value of the
global second-hand apparel market is forecast to reach $84 billion by 2030, marking an increase of $56 billion in just a decade. This growth underscores the vital role of reusing secondhand products, whether through buying or renting, highlighting the need to place reuse on par with other crucial factors like manufacturing and waste. Policymakers now have an opportunity to leverage Europe’s unique position, with its abundance of high-quality goods already in circulation, to transform the single market into the ‘Silicon Valley for Reuse’.
➔ Aligning future rules and avoiding barriers to second-hand trade
Align new rules with established frameworks for online marketplaces:
With the Digital Services Act, the General Product Safety Regulation and Product Liability Directive, the European Institutions have set up a robust and future-proof framework to ensure a safe digital environment for consumers and businesses to buy and sell via online marketplaces, including second-hand platforms. Under the new mandate, any new rules impacting online marketplaces should ensure consistency with the obligations that are already in place without adding new equirements.
Avoid turning second-hand platforms into enforcement authorities:
Recent policy initiatives, particularly in the context of taxation, extended producer responsibility etc. have resulted in our members’ platforms becoming the support vehicle for enforcing European or national
laws instead of the responsible administration, creating barriers to second-hand trade and innovation. To boost second-hand sales across Europe, policymakers should avoid imposing more and more obligations on our members’ platforms to collect, verify or even declare on behalf of our
customers’ data — which should be enforced by public authorities.