• For several years, the second-hand and resale market between individuals has exploded throughout the world, and particularly in France.

  • A trend set to develop?

    To find out, we went to a DeLorean in 2050 where, that's it, the second hand has become a reflex.

  • Good news for the planet, even if some nostalgic for the new regret the time before.

September 23, 2050. For his 18th birthday, Dylan Miran, the eldest of the family, unboxes, moved, his birthday present: a pair of new shoes, the flashy white Adidas-3000.

"Your feet are no longer likely to grow," smiles his father, Fabien, just as moved.

You are an adult now, you deserve shoes of this standing.

This is the first time that Dylan's toes will know shoes never worn by anyone other than him.

Because in 2050, the second-hand market has established itself, to the point of representing as many sales as the new market.

Already, thirty years earlier, the second hand was booming, with a 12% increase in global turnover per year, according to a study carried out by the Boston Consulting Group and Vestiaire Collective.

Seven out of 10 French people bought second-hand clothes, and Vinted was, in 2021, the second favorite e-commerce site in the country.

Explosion of demand

“In 2050, the second hand will be a necessity, predicted Dominique Desjeux, an anthropologist specializing in consumption at the time*.

Not only does ecological sobriety require fewer new purchases from 2022, but the global middle class is exploding, especially in China and India.

And the offer will not be able to follow if it is based only on new products, unless we overexploit natural resources even more”.

Not really an expert in demography or macroeconomics, our friend Fabien Miran can only observe: “Supply has dried up compared to demand, and new products leave in a few days with each release.

In my childhood, Westerners were the only ones to snap up new products.

Now, everywhere in the globe, the credit card comes out.

Unearthing new has become a real business, testifies the father of the family: "I bought Adidas because you are 18 only once in your life, but you had to pay a high price, and I had to reserve the product several months in advance, by connecting to the online store six hours before the launch of the presale.

From now on, any new product looks like a limited edition of the time as there are potential buyers.


Purchasing power, again and again

Because beyond ecological awareness and the scarcity of raw materials, the second-hand boom is also explained by the lower cost of products already in use.

“Purchasing power has always been the main reason for the success of second-hand,” confirms Dominique Desjeux.

Cécile Désaunay, director of studies at Futuribles in 2022*, dates the revival of the second-hand market to the economic crisis of 2008: “With each crisis, the second hand increases.

This is why in 2022, all the conditions were met for the market to skyrocket again: energy crisis, economic crisis, ecological crisis…”

The Milan family doesn't really have a choice: impossible to pay 600 euros for each pair of shoes, you have to go through the occasion.

All is not perfect, of course: the washing machine, also used, pukes the laundry more than it washes it.

“We were perhaps a bit ambitious in taking a 2015 machine. A new one would never have done that.

But there are a lot of advantages on occasion, defends the mother, Noémie.

Look at my dress: it was customized by its previous owner, with hems here and there.

Each object becomes unique.

I was also able to find the coffee maker that my family had during my childhood!

» Cécile Désaunay agrees: « The second hand allows a much broader and vintage offer, acclaimed by consumers.

The objects are older, or cannot be found in stores,

which gives an unprecedented range of products.

Far from being despised, the second-hand market has become socially valued.


Several lives and possibility of resale

An enthusiasm shared by Dylan, who gets on his bike to show his new sneakers to his friends.

“We bought this bike in Amsterdam.

It has already rolled thousands of times before I took it, I find it cool an object that has a passive and several lives”.

And who is called to have others.

“Later, I would have an electric car.

Used, of course.

And as my bike will be less useful to me, I might as well make a few pennies with it, ”plans the young boy, fed up with buying and reselling.

The same goes for his shoes.

"I'm not fooled by their prices, reassures Fabien.

In three years, Dylan will be able to draw another 300 euros.

And inevitably, it increases the amount to be spent to have them.

This practice was already widespread in 2022, especially for cars, recalls Philippe Moati, co-founder of the Consumer Observatory*: “Some brands were known for their good resale capacity on occasion, such as BMWs, for example.

The price of a new vehicle was therefore more expensive, since it included the possibility of reselling it at a good price.

Sites listed the models most likely to be bought at a high price on occasion”.

Already then, in 2020, Europeans had bought three times as many used cars as new cars.

And how not to mention the case of smartphones?

One in five French people had already sold one in 2022. So in 2050, we sell second-hand second-hand second-hand m… In short, you get the idea.

The Iphone 30 bought 2,300 euros used by Fabien will still be worth 1,500 euros on resale.

The reappropriation of brands

And now, it is the brands themselves who manage the resale of their products.

Forget Vinted and others, neglected due to too many scams and the poor quality of certain products.

“Major brands are getting more and more into second-hand goods,” noted Philippe Moati thirty years ago.

It's too big a trend for them to ignore.

The deal is simple: the consumer brings back his object for a certain amount, and the store is responsible for reselling it.

With objects requiring an increasingly long lifespan, in order to serve several users over time, the brands have thus reviewed their specifications.

No more clothes whose fabric withers after five washes, the laptop HS in two years or the car that skates severely after 100,000 kilometers.

Philippe Moati already imagined it: "With the rise of the second hand, it is possible that we will see in the future (today, therefore, in 2050) the manufacture of new objects much more qualitative and resistant" .

What also show white paw in terms of sobriety and redeem an ecological image.

Far from the first smartphones, Fabien's Iphone 30 is guaranteed for twenty years.

Deprogrammed obsolescence.

The new, is it still hype?

The bike that Dylan rides is also a good example: it dates back to 2015, and shared the trips of an Argentinian, a Japanese and a Dutchman before belonging to the son Miran.

Hence the joke - common among parents - that Fabien can't help but make: “These days, real old age is when you're not as young as the objects you use.


After pedaling like a madman to join his friends, Dylan is bitter.

Far from being amazed by his flashy white Adidas 3000s, his friends sharply criticized him: “Why did you buy a new piece of clothing, aren't you well?

“, “Have you thought about the planet?

“, “How are you, the billionaire?

asks the pack.

A behavior imagined by Vincent Chabault, sociologist of distribution and the consumer society*: "The only way to see the second hand impose itself as the dominant market is a clear evolution of our value system, the only way for an ecological transition of consumption.

The new would therefore be discredited, stigmatized, seen as purely materialistic and harmful to the environment.


But of course, even in this new world of 2050, the new has its place and its advantages: "To feed the second hand, you necessarily need the first hand at some point", recalls, in evidence, the sociologist.

A necessity in which Fabien believes, when he is stuck in traffic jams to pick up his son in tears: “We are in 2050 and we still haven't invented the flying car!

That's the problem when all you do is buy old things: innovation is dead, all you do is recycle.

“What console Dylan a little and make him love his beautiful sneakers again.


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* As you will have understood, these experts were interviewed in 2022 as part of this paper.

  • Economy

  • Sale

  • Future(s)

  • Consumption

  • purchasing power

  • Mark