If you're wondering how it is to buy second hand in Taiwan, I hope this post will give you a better insight into the topic.
But trading portals are one thing. If you want to see even more ridiculous pricing for second hand goods, I invite you to Buy Sell Facebook groups in chinese. That's where the prices are truly uncontrolled and just do not make sense.
Why shop second hand?Starting off, why do we buy second hand? Second hand products purchases are an alternative option to buying brand new products at the store. Most of us do that to avoid the high commission margin the retail stores are clocking in. It is not uncommon for goods to lose 30% of value at the moment of leaving the dealership, especially luxurious goods like cars. Therefore, second hand goods are usually the much-cheaper option for many of us. We buy second hand: cars, clothes, electronics, home appliance, furniture... in general, durable goods. But once I moved to Taiwan, my world with regard to second-hand shopping got twisted around.
Second hand pricing in TaiwanTo start with, the prices. In Taiwan, we often encounter second hand goods priced very similarly to new, or at least, with not as much a price difference as normally expected. The rule of "loses value when getting out of the store" seems to often not apply here. Second hand goods are still priced at high premiums, if you ask my opinion. Buying a second hand t-shirt for 500 NTD (equivalent of 16USD) just misses the whole point, in my opinion, especially since the same prices can be met in outlet stores for new goods. In addition, t-shirts really do lose value while one uses them: the colors lose the saturation, thread wears out, graphics may get damaged, stains may appear, fabric may lose firmness... The only option I can see for selling clothes at prices similar to new is when the particular piece comes from a limited edition of designer brands, when a certain scarcity is in place, demand is very high, or the piece already qualifies as "vintage" and is sold to a collector. This is justifiable for 500TWD for a second hand t-shirt. We also notice very high prices for cars and motorcycles here, like if the depreciation of value was much lower than anywhere else. 10 years old motorcycles and cars are often priced at 60-70% of dealership, new price, meaning, according to the seller, the cars price has not depreciated more than the dealer's commission fee. Is that so? What about the wear out caused by the kilometers traveled? Is the body of the car still in the perfect integrity, with no damage at all? Event paint? Hard to believe, considering how the local traffic works. "I replaced it, it is new" is not an argument. When compromising the original composition of engine, car, or even paintjob, the integrity is not as new. Things were moved, the damage was done, and the parts are more prone to the damage in the future. Just like with our body, if you sprain an ankle, it will never be as strong as before. If you have a liver transplant, it won't ever work as your original one. Same with cars. So no, a new part from shady sources or paining over does not make up for the damage fully. But cars are not the only damaged goods that get sold at not damaged prices here. Have you ever tried to buy second hand footwear in Taiwan? At 60% of original price, the shoes are often obviously used, sometimes worn out, have marks, scratches, and all of other signs that scream "sell me cheap!!", are still sold at new outlet prices.
|Second hand Air Force One with wearing marks: 2100. Outlet price of my classic all white Air Force One new: 1999|
What can you buy second hand?
Let's also talk about what people sell second hand here. There are certain things that are supposed to be used only by one person throughout the whole lifespan, like toothbrush or socks, for example. It is not uncommon, however, to come across second hand underwear or socks postings. People also try to sell non-durable goods, like half-used bottle of perfume. How can you hope to sell that? Most ridiculous posting I heard of was one my friend told me about: Second hand condoms package. Now, do not get me wrong, they were not used yet. Not all at least. The description was similar to: "bought in Japan, used only two, 10 left, not my size". Price: maybe 20 dollars cheaper than a new package. Talk about extreme second hand shopping.
Secon hand trading in Taiwan- who to trade with?
However much I consider integration into society a duty of an immigrant, it is best to trade second hand goods with foreigners. All the trading I have done so far was with other immigrants. I bought (an sold) a PS3 second hand (at 3000 TWD with two controllers, 5ish games, quite a bargain), bought an xBox ONE (No problems, even some parts with original vinyl wrapping, with two games, a wireless controller) for 4500 (another bargain, I think), sold my two xBox games... all with foreigners. How I feel is that these people get the whole "second hand shopping" point. It is great to trade with them, because they often also afterwards inquire about whether everything is working properly, if there are no problems with the good etc.
Where to buy second hand?
Depending on the goods you want to buy, there are several places where you can look.
- Facebook "Buy Sell Trade" group- recommendation for trading with foreigners, the english speaking groups, like "Taipei: buy, sell, trade", or "The Official Taiwan: video games- buy sell & trade". Quite often you can encounter quite good bargains, "moving out sales" are a common things to see. A lot of furniture, home appliance, sometimes clothes. If you have problems finding right sizing for you in Taiwan, these groups may be worth a look.
- PCHome- Taiwanese portal for online shopping. Special feature of this one is the COD payment terms, which means you do not pay until you receive the good. All in chinese
- Yahoo bid- a P2P online shopping platform. All in chinese
- Carousell- second hand shopping app. Interface fully in English, Chinese also available. This platfor facilitates bargaining and you can set up your Carousell wallet, a thing similar to paypal, but solely for the app.
- eBay- importing from abroad. Came out as a pretty good option for myself, especially when ordering small electronics and electronic parts. Quite often, if bought from Hong Kong or China, the shipping is free.
- Tianmu square: on weekends, a flee market is set up there. If you like to shop physically rather than online, this may be a good option for you. There you can not only encounter a lot of vintage clothing goods and other stuff, like home appliance, paintings, etc. There is also a lot of stands with good, affordable brands. Sometimes people there travel to Japan or Korea, shop, and bring it back to Tianmu square for sale. Brands like Abercrombie and Fitch, Under Armour, Gap, Hollister, Aeropostale, can quite often be purchased at prices same or lower than H&M. All new!
Do you know any more portals? Or you would like to share your second hand shopping experience? Please leave a comment