Online marketplaces and the future of sustainable ecommerce

Category: Brands
Online marketplaces and the future of sustainable ecommerce

As we start 2024, Antoine Jouteau, CEO of Adevinta discusses sustainable ecommerce and how marketplaces can play a part in the circular economy.  

The Adevinta online classifieds group include over 25+ digital marketplaces spans consumer goods, mobility, real estate, holiday rentals and jobs, enabling more than 120 million people a month and over a million businesses across Europe to connect and trade. Brands include leboncoin in France; and Kleinanzeigen in Germany; Fotocasa and InfoJobs in Spain, Subito in Italy; Marktplaats in the Netherlands and the Canadian marketplace Kijiji. 

Championing circularity 

With costs rising and inflation rates volatile, consumer spending power continues to be squeezed. However, despite shoppers having less disposable income to part with, it isn’t all bad news for the retail industry. By offering a wider range of products at competitive prices, online marketplaces enable consumers to make their money go further.  And with younger generations also wanting to live more sustainable lives, marketplaces allow them to shop in a way that’s both environmentally responsible and cost-effective.   

Adevinta is one of the largest players in the second-hand marketplace sector. With a portfolio of more than 25 digital marketplaces across 10 countries – spanning consumer goods, real estate, mobility and holiday rentals – we are uniquely positioned to accelerate the growth of the circular economy. We’re at the forefront of driving change, and we’re seeing first-hand how the e-commerce demands of individuals, brands, and retailers are evolving as sustainability in all forms – economic, societal, and environmental – continues to play an increasingly prominent role in global economies. 

Saving the planet and your wallet 

Shopping second-hand on marketplaces eases the pressure on people’s finances in difficult economic times, offering an invaluable lifeline for many. For sellers, listing pre-loved items is an affordable and easy way to boost their income. In a recent survey, Adevinta found that 40% of consumers across Europe said that the cost-of-living crisis has encouraged them to buy second-hand to save money. And 45% have turned to selling their unwanted items as a means of generating cash.  

While convenience was the primary factor influencing consumer buying habits during the pandemic, the ESG credentials of where they’re buying from are now even more significant. According to The Circularity Gap Report 2023, the global economy is now only 7.2% circular, and it’s getting worse year on year due to increasing material extraction.  

Because of this, there’s now a growing cohort of conscious consumers turning their back on buying from brands and platforms that promote the rapid delivery of new, mass-produced items, instead favouring online marketplaces. And the ramifications of doing so are huge. We found that by trading second-hand products on Adevinta’s marketplaces in 2022 alone, our customers created potential CO2 savings of 25.3 million tonnes — equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of approximately 3.4 million European citizens.  

However, traditional online marketplaces and classified sites must keep evolving if they’re to compete with the market-dominating global platforms delivering mass-produced goods directly to our doorsteps. Ultimately, while cost and climate concerns are high on the consumer agenda, today’s shoppers still have little tolerance for lengthy delivery times and a poor user experience.  

Meeting evolving customer needs 

In the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in more niche marketplaces serving specific products or needs. While their growing popularity can’t be dismissed, many people value the convenience of a marketplace that allows them to shop across a wide range of vertical categories. According to our research, 55% of consumers across Europe believe it’s important to be able to find everything they need on one platform when shopping online.  

The marketplaces of the future will become one-stop-shops, going beyond just the transaction process to provide a full suite of support for every user — from help with financing a house or vehicle purchase, to offering a seamless and sustainable fulfilment service. 

Similarly, marketplaces that also offer an enhanced proposition of services to businesses will come out on top. The key to success is meeting demand. This ranges from marketing support for car dealers and manufacturers, supporting small businesses to scale and grow, to providing mortgage services for real estate agents. 

The future is circular  

We’re at the point of no return. To safeguard the future of our planet we must reduce our waste and emissions. And to be able to do so, adopting re-commerce at scale has never been more important. There’s still a lot of work to be done to unlock the true environmental potential of sustainable consumption and as a responsible European business we recognise the pivotal role we have to play. 

Adevinta continues to invest in sustainable partnerships and technology with the aim of influencing a significant change in shopping habits. We know that once people experience the benefits of re-commerce they’ll continue to shop in more sustainable ways. 


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