Douyin takes on Xianyu, beefing up its second-hand e-commerce

The Chinese TikTok, Douyin, has rushed into the race of second-hand business by launching a new channel on the platform’s marketplace, which is dedicated to services including product resales and live streaming sessions promoting second-hand items, as per the Chinese media outlet Xinyan Finance on 16 March.

It is also understood that a collection and delivery service has also been embedded in the new feature, where users can post their vintage items to the platform for appraisal and choose between rendering their ownership to the platform or selling directly by themselves. By doing so, Douyin has been able to keep its users on this closed-loop, second-hand e-commerce market on its own platform, without directing them to Xianyu, a platform owned by Alibaba that is so far leading China’s online sales of second-hand products.

Vintage consumption had not yet come to the mainstream in pre-pandemic China. However, the reselling market has seen a rapid growth since 2020, due partly to the shift in consumer attitude that is in favour of a more sustainable consumption. The booming e-commerce industry amid the pandemic, has also contributed to the more environmentally friendly trend amongst China’s Gen Z, which has also driven tech companies including Douyin to tap into the emerging market.

Ju Xi, a Chinese brand specialising in second-hand luxury sales, had recorded a daily GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) of nearly 2 million RMB ($314, 950) during one of China’s biggest online shopping festivals ‘618’ in 2020, which signalled the huge potential in resale for Douyin. The video platform soon tested the water by bringing a Douyin ‘Pre-owned Luxury Festival’ in October the same year, paving the way for its building of the second-hand ecosystem.

While the initial stage focused more on luxury products, the latest move saw Douyin scale up its market space with more categories including digital products, watches and leather bags. It also leveraged its expertise in video content, taking second-hand sales to its short video page as well as live streaming sessions. With the platform’s user base and a mature digital environment, Douyin has been able to build up a more independent market space for resale products, which would, in return, facilitate the overall growth of the platform.


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