The furniture store ikea has come forward with an unusual offer: from 1 january, it will be offering a new range of products in five german stores. September used furniture from our own assortment to be bought and immediately resold.
The german market leader announced. The test is initially limited to a few product groups and, according to the company, is intended to promote sustainability.
What the trade has so far left to a few social entrepreneurs with their second-hand department stores, is now to be the entry into the circular economy. But environmental activists and trade experts react skeptically.
A few snags in the "second chance" for billy and co. Anyway. The future reseller is to appear after a noncommittal price offer from the internet with the built up product in the market, where it is again taken in inspection.
If the deal goes through, you get a voucher worth up to 50 percent of the new price, but no cash. Ikea then wants to market the second-hand furniture it acquires in its "lost and found" pits. Ikea germany states that they do not make any money from it, but only add the value added tax to the purchase price.
Stefan peter from the motz association for the homeless in berlin is not convinced of the sales prospects of used sweden furniture from his own experience. "Ikea furniture is doing very badly in our department store, because someone always says, "we can get that cheap when it’s new.""He therefore does not fear any real competition if ikea now enters the second-hand market.
Other retailers have also launched similar promotions. The textile mail-order company zalando is trying to create a social network with its "closet", in which users can resell clothes to each other. The textile retailer H&M issues merchandise vouchers in its stores in exchange for clothing donations. Manufacturers of cutlery and pots give discounts for exchanging old products for new ones.
The goal, says retail expert martin fassnacht from the WHU business school, is always the same: "each of us has too much furniture and too much clothing. For the companies it is a question of setting additional purchase impulses."For ikea, as with the return policy, the focus is certainly not on sustainability, but on creating additional buying impulses. "They want to make it easy for their customers to buy new furniture by taking back the old ones without any problems"."The bottom line is that the strategy will pay off for the company.
The german nature conservation association is campaigning for a strengthening of the used furniture market and against the widespread ex-and-hop mentality. "Today, far too many discarded furniture items go to incineration," explains nabu federal managing director leif miller right in the ikea press release. The environment can only benefit from a longer use of the furniture.
Greenpeace is not quite so euphoric and first wants to see in practice where the used ikea furniture really ends up in the end. "The voucher scheme shows that it’s not about resources, but about further boosting consumption," says spokeswoman viola wohlgemuth. On the other hand, we welcome all approaches in which companies begin to take on extended product responsibility.
So far, the environmental organization has focused its criticism of consumption primarily on the textile industry. "The fast pace of the fashion industry, which wants to grow even more, even though valuable and scarce resources go into every piece of clothing, is ecologically irresponsible in addition to all the social problems," says wohlgemuth. "It is particularly bad that for the companies it is cheaper to destroy goods once they have been produced than to put them back into circulation."
The principle of "fast fashion" is increasingly spreading to other sectors. "People no longer consume because they need things, but because they are on the hunt for the latest model. We see this with smartphones, for example, but also with furnishings and furniture."