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Amazon made over $1 billion from second-hand products in Europe, bets big on business

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Amazon is making some seriously big money by selling second hand products. In the UK this year, it made over $1 billion as more and more people turn to pre-owned and preloved products

Amazon’s UK Country Manager, John Boumphrey, recently disclosed that consumer demand for refurbished and pre-owned goods has propelled Amazon into a billion-pound business in Britain and across Europe.

The trend of purchasing second-hand items is expected to persist as consumers, affected by increasing prices and borrowing costs, seek to save money and adopt more sustainable shopping practices.

In the UK, Amazon sold over 4 million used or refurbished products at a discount in the past year alone, contributing significantly to the company’s revenue.

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During the first nine months of 2023, Amazon’s sales of second-hand goods in the UK saw a notable increase of over 15 per cent compared to the same period the previous year.

Speaking at the launch of Amazon UK’s “Second Chance Store,” a Christmas pop-up shop in London dedicated to selling returned and refurbished items, Boumphrey highlighted that customers are increasingly turning to second-hand items both to navigate the ongoing cost of living crisis and to align with sustainability goals.

Amazon’s commitment to sustainability includes its goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. The company’s efforts in the refurbished goods market not only cater to consumer preferences but also contribute to reducing environmental impact.

Despite Amazon’s success in this sector, Boumphrey expressed frustration with the frequent regulatory changes in Europe, particularly in the UK.

He emphasized concerns about the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill, currently under consideration in the UK parliament, which aims to provide legal powers to the antitrust regulator for tailoring rules for big tech companies.

Boumphrey’s remarks come amidst a broader discussion on the challenges and uncertainties posed by regulatory changes in the region. While large companies, including Amazon, recognize their capacity to make a difference due to their scale, concerns about regulatory stability and long-term certainty remain crucial for future investments.

Amazon has been a substantial investor in the UK, having committed 56 billion Pounds since 2010, including 12 billion Pounds in 2022 alone.

(With inputs from agencies)

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