Story: Second-hand trade

Page 3. Online trading

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Auction and trading sites

Online trading of second-hand goods started in New Zealand in the 1990s. The first major trading site which allowed members of the public to trade second-hand goods with one another was Trade & Exchange Online (launched in 1998). It was followed by Trade Me, where people sell goods through online auctions, in 1999. Smaller players such as Zillion (2005) and Sella (2008) followed.

Trade Me overwhelmingly dominated this market in the 2000s and was frequently the most visited website in New Zealand. In June 2009 Trade Me had more than half a million visitors each day, while Sella had just over 10,000. In 2009, 52% of items listed and 60% of items sold on Trade Me (excluding cars and property) were second hand.

Millionaire Me

Sam Morgan was just 22 years old when he set up online auction site Trade Me in 1999. Eight years later Trade Me was sold to media publishing giant John Fairfax Holdings for $700 million. Morgan received $200 million, which made him one of the wealthiest people in New Zealand. His parents, who invested money in Trade Me to get it started, received $50 million and started a charity with some of the proceeds.

Some antique and second-hand dealers embraced online trading and used existing sites or set up their own websites which complemented shop-based sales.

Online car sales

In the 2000s used cars were increasingly traded online as well as in traditional auctioneering warehouses and car yards. A 2009 survey showed that websites were the most popular way prospective buyers researched cars. Trade Me was the most popular website by far – it was used by 85% of buyers, compared with 34% for other comparable sites.

Online communities

Most online trading websites have community message boards or blogs where people interested in particular antique and second-hand goods can chat about their interests and seek and offer advice. In June 2009 Trade Me’s most popular collectors’ chatroom was the ‘stamp club’, followed by the ‘coin club’ and the ‘lantern and cooker (stove) collectors thread’.

How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock and Bronwyn Labrum, 'Second-hand trade - Online trading', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/second-hand-trade/page-3 (accessed 14 November 2019)

Story by Kerryn Pollock and Bronwyn Labrum, published 11 Mar 2010