The used goods market in Oman has picked up in recent years largely on the strength of social media platforms, which give customers enough options to verify the quality of products.
According to sources, in Oman the main demand has been for used cars followed by home furniture, and home appliances such as refrigerators and microwaves.
Products were sold traditionally through classified pages of newspapers and licensed shops.
While such shops still remain, classified sections have given way to online applications such as Olx, Facebook groups and Instagram.
According to industry experts, apart from the cost, one major reason for the growing demand for used goods is the “reduced shelf life” of consumer appliances, including cars.
“New products with new features are introduced every year. Because of the peer pressure, the youth are tempted to sell the old appliances even if they are in top condition,” Hammod Hashmi, a public sector employee, said.
“I have been changing my smartphone every two years because there are new ones in the market with interest-free loans. The last two mobile phones fetched good price because there were customers
who couldn’t afford to buy new ones,” he said.
These days there are many ways to find out whether a product is genuine or counterfeit, he added.
Joseph Alexander, formerly with the vehicle insurance sector, feels it makes sense for some expatriate consumers to go in for used cars because the loss will be minimal when they have to sell them.
“The depreciation rate is higher for vehicles, so the loss will be high on a higher investment.” He said it is easier for consumers to get loans on used cars and verify whether it had any accident before.
Ibrahim al Balushi wanted to buy a high-end luxury car and he found it easily through Olx within his budget. “I didn’t get the colour of my choice, but still it is fine as I could own a big car.” He, however, warned that not all sellers were honest and there may be attempts to hide some facts. “This is the risk we may have to take because even those selling new products may be not that honest.”
Home furniture is another popular product on social media. “The new ones are expensive and people want to change their home décor every three to four years,” said an executive at a furniture showroom. The affordable ones are of very poor quality and may not last even a year, he said.
According to the MarketWeek website, there will always be a strong second-hand market because people are looking at maximising their returns on income. It said the rise in the second-hand market is posing problems for those selling new goods.