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EDITORIAL Last minute Christmas surge drives second hand sales – and dangerous fakes

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With Christmas almost upon us, shoppers are set to make one last splurge this coming weekend – Panic Weekend – as they look to buy last minute gifts. While the move is usually a boon for high street shops, analysts are also predicting that it will see a surge in online sales too. Despite Royal Mail’s strike hampering some deliveries, the courier firms that now dominate ecommerce are more ready than ever to make the last seven days before Christmas count online as well as off.

So, what will people be buying? While shoppers are undoubtedly cutting back on their spending, they are still set to gift in enormous numbers. Part of the reason why this coming weekend is going to see higher sales than last year, despite the economic gloom, is that they still want to share a little yuletide joy.

One way that canny consumers are looking to save money – and the planet – lies in re-gifting and gifting second hand items. While there has been a surge in interest in pre-loved goods, this Christmas is starting to look like used items as gifts is a trend, not just, well, for Christmas. 

Research shows that half of UK shoppers plan to give at least one second hand item as a present this year, with many looking to do much of their gift buying via sites that specialise in vintage and pre-loved items. Perhaps more interestingly, 60% of people are actually happy to receive second hand gifts.

The move comes hot on the heels of a study covered last week that found that the global market for second hand has boomed and could be worth as much as $150bn across the whole of 2022. 

This is more than just a Christmas fad: this has the makings of a full-blown move to embracing pre-loved in mass consumerism.

Already, UK start up marketplace UK Marketplace – which went live this week – strongly features not only British registered businesses selling a massive variety of items, but is also heavily plugging the pre-loved and second hand goods that are also for sale.

The fact that this marketplace not only features a dedicated space for pre-loved goods, but also that it is using that as part of its launch marketing drive shows just how far this has come and how second hand is set to be one of the major retail trends for 2023.

A move to buying more second hand and affordable pre-loved goods is also going to help consumers and retailers alike avoid the counterfeit trap. Many shoppers are, while looking for bargains, finding seemingly really cheap name brand items and snapping them up. Sadly, many of these are fakes – and more over they can, especially with toys and cosmetics, be extremely dangerous ones too.

The rise of fakes has long been a silent problem in ecommerce and, as shoppers have modified their spending habits, they are becoming a larger problem.

Yes, some shoppers actively seek them out to get a bargain and the cache of owning, say, a Rolex that they could never afford, but the reality is that many counterfeiters are targeting unwitting shoppers who are not looking for fakes at all. If a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is a fake. 

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