Consumer demand for refurbished and used goods in the UK and Europe has increased for Amazon Amzn It has built a business worth one billion pounds ($1.3 billion), according to the company’s head in Britain.
Many retailers and manufacturers expect this trend to continue (link) as shoppers hit by rising prices and credit costs look to save money and buy more sustainably.
John Pumphrey, Amazon’s UK director, told reporters that the online retail giant sold more than 4 million used or refurbished products at a discount in the UK alone last year.
He added that in the first nine months of 2023, Amazon’s sales of used goods in the UK increased by more than 15 percent compared to the same period last year.
Amazon UK’s total revenue in 2022 was £24 billion.
“Customers tell us they are buying used goods to save money amid the ongoing cost of living crisis and because they want to shop more sustainably,” Pumphrey told reporters.
He was speaking at the launch of Amazon UK’s Second Chance Store, a pop-up Christmas store in London that sells returned and refurbished items.
Amazon has set a goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Many environmentalists doubt the extent to which major companies are willing to reduce their emissions, and see this as a mere public relations exercise. But big companies say their size allows them to make a difference.
Pumphrey also told Reuters that Amazon bosses were frustrated by the scale of regulatory change in Europe and especially the UK and questioned whether they had enough vision for the investment.
“There are a whole range of changes in regulation, not just in the UK but also in Europe, and one of the questions they are asking is: Will this provide us with security in the long term,” he said in an interview.
He highlighted concerns about the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill (link), which is currently going through the UK Parliament and will give the UK antitrust regulator legal powers to regulate big tech companies to adapt.
Pumphrey’s comments come after the British government this week (link) welcomed foreign investment worth £29.5 billion in a sign that Britain is recovering from the uncertainty caused by Brexit and political turmoil last year, and is regaining its attractiveness for businesses.
Pumphrey said Amazon has invested £56 billion in the UK since 2010, including £12 billion in 2022 alone.
($1 = 0.7913 pounds)
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