The future is bright according the Mr Nissenoff, author of Futureshop. In years to come we will all have those nice things which we always wanted. Women will dress in designer clothes, men will have (almost) the latest gadgets and we will all be richer. So, how is this socio-economic miracle going to happen and surely there must be some sort of drawback? Well unfortunately most of these new found objects of desire will be second hand, and we will be richer because we have sold all our stuff. The new trend which Nissenoff is triumphing is the forthcoming auction revolution.
Apparently the explosive growth we have seen in eBay in the last few years has only been a taster of what is to come. For the first time in history we will have an efficient market in everyday items allowing us to convert our unwanted items into cash. In the past if we wanted to sell something which was not in demand we had to resort to newspaper classifieds or to car boot sales, usually selling the items for a pittance. Now and in the future we, or a third party consignment service, will sell our items on platforms such as eBay.
Nissenoff gives several analogies for what the future holds. It will be like the used car market where the resale value of an item is a large part of the purchasing decision. We will purchase higher quality items knowing that we can sell them for a larger proportion of their original value than cheaper models. Buying will more like leasing than a long term purchase.
This auction culture will lead to a flight to quality as people revert to seemingly old fashioned notions of buying items that last and have a decent resale value. We will look at items more like investors, selling up before they loose too much of their value. For example, what is the point of holding onto a mobile phone which is not used and is loosing 2.5% of its value every month when I can trade it in and put the proceeds towards the latest model. On the flip side, the ease with which items can be sold will lead to more people owning branded goods and living in a consumer nirvana of Gucci, Rolex, Pravda, Tissot, Armani, Chanel,
But, I hear you say, selling on eBay is a bit of a fag, what with all that photographing, listing, answering questions etc. How will the auction culture catch on? Well here is the slightly convenient part of this story, we are all going to use drop shops in the future, and they will be come an indispensable part of our lives. In case you don’t know, drops shops are companies which sell on eBay so you don’t have to. The rather convenient part of all this is that Nissenoff runs a drop shop called Portero, which help people sell their luxury goods on eBay.
I generally agree with what David Nissenoff has to say and I do think that he has a point, even if the future is rarely as bright as books like this suggest. I for one have sold all my unwanted items on eBay and put the money to upgrades just as he has suggested. What I find hard to believe is that someone who wants to spend $600 on a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes is really going to be bothered to trade them in, whatever the logic. It all depends on people being rather too predicable and behaving in their own best economic interests, a dangerous assumption.