• France's news in English

In lean times, internet spurs second-hand market in France

AFP · 15 Aug 2011, 09:33

Published: 15 Aug 2011 09:33 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Used to the good life, France has lagged behind many other countries in using the marketing muscle of the internet to spur interest in second-hand goods.

But today, belts are tightening as spending power declines and unemployment rises -- and more seems likely next week when President Nicolas Sarkozy unveils plans to narrow the country's budget deficit.  

As a result, traditional reluctance about "pre-owned" possessions is evaporating.  

Since roughly the start of the year, a flurry of websites has sprouted in which people rent or even give away their personal belongings -- a donation that comes with the condition that the would-be owner has to collect.  

"After the CAC 40 [the main French stock barometer] went into a dive at the start of the month, we experienced a very big rise in the number of people wanting to hire items on our site," said Alexandre Woog, co-founder of e-loue.  

The site, which means e-hire in French, has a remarkable range of goods for rent.  

They include run-of-the-mill stuff such as cars, boats and tools, but also country cottages, champagne glasses, a cake stand, a goat (€10 a day), a cinema's popcorn maker -- and a host of big-name suits and gowns and the designer bling to go with it.  

Such things are terrific for people who, just for an evening, want to live the high life at a low price. 

The renters benefit, too.  

"Think about it," said Woog. "If you buy a handbag for €250 euros, all you have to do is rent it out for €10 a night for 25 times, and you've got your money back!"

E-loue took off as a market-place for consumers, but demand has been so impressive that a business-to-business version has now been launched, says Woog.  

Other sites that have flourished in tougher times include www.donnons.org -- "let's give" in French -- in which people offload unwanted possessions for free to whoever is willing to pick them up.  

Founder Olivier Nass, aged 37, says that 550,000 objects have found new homes over the last three years, and right now the site is getting more than 60,000 hits per day.  

The site bans gifts of animals and food and, according to Nass, problems are extremely rare, in the range of one deal in every 1,000.  

"It's been a lifesaver for a large number of people who don't have enough money to buy tools or gadgets or clothing, leaving them the means to focus on essentials such as rent," said Nass.  

Story continues below…

A rival donation site is co-recyclage.com, set up in April by Thomas Duclos Chanteaud, a seven-year veteran with French trash collectors Veolia Proprete.  

"The goal is simply to provide a point of contact between two people who are keen on recycling," he said.  

"For example, someone who picks up a second-hand sofa will not be buying a new one, which would increase his carbon footprint. And the person who's getting rid of the sofa won't be sending it to the rubbish dump, where it would probably be incinerated, adding to greenhouse gases."  

France produces mountains of rubbish each year -- 391 kilos a year per household, a figure that has doubled over 40 years in spite of efforts to reuse glass bottles and metal and plastic packaging.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available