The State of the Buy & Sell Market in Hong Kong – 2016

Swapit has seen some phenomenal growth in the year 2016 that has just passed. Our community has increased significantly and the activity on our marketplace is growing day-by-day. To ensure, we are addressing the right audience, we keep a close eye on how our users are using Swapit, what’s useful, what can be improved and especially what kind of content they like.

While we already see growing traction across the globe, our core user base is still in Hong Kong. So we have gathered all the products being posted on Swapit in 2016 and looked at their categorization. There is an interesting shift from our previous analysis in March 2016, but please have a look yourself:


So our top 3 product categories are now:

  1. Fashion
  2. Jewelry & Watches
  3. Consumer Electronics

Compared to our previous chart from March 2016 that’s a bit of a shift. In March the top 3 categories were:

  1. Consumer Electronics
  2. Fashion
  3. Home Appliances

I am already excited how 2017 will turn out. We have some serious changes for Swapit in the making and our growth projections are even more exciting. Stay tuned for more on that!

Have you tried Swapit yet? Get it at:


Swapit Trading Trends in Hong Kong

Swapit’s user base is growing fast and our user engagement is growing even faster. While, we’re already getting users in countries like USA, UK, Philippines, Thailand and India, our main target market still remains to be Hong Kong. So for our core market, we are constantly monitoring the major districts of trading for us.

For you to get a general sense of how much is being traded where in Hong Kong, have a look at these two maps:

It is interesting that we can see clearly the most popular trading areas along the MTR (subway) lines of Hong Kong. That can have multiple reasons:

1) People like to meet up at MTR stations, because it’s the most efficient mode of transport in Hong Kong; and/or

2) Near MTR stations are usually the large scale residential buildings – condos, etc. So the majority of the Hong Kong people live near such subway routes.

If we however, zoom a bit further in, we can see some interesting patterns. Let’s take a look at these two areas:

Especially the Shek Kip Mei area (left map) shows clearly that the main indicator there is residential population density. MTR stations are nearby, but by far not as many items are posted right at the MTR stations, compared to the ones that are posted in residential areas.

swapit-blog_android_mapThe Central area on the other, shows clearly a concentration of item postings near the Central MTR station. Those are most likely either “Meetup” or “Work” location postings. Generally, population density in terms of residence, is rather low in Central.

If you’d like to check it out yourself, you can do that easily inside the Swapit on your Android phone or your iPhone. Just select the “Map” icon and browse your local map. You can also pan to other locations in the world, if you’d like to.

You’re not on Swapit yet? Get it from:

Swapit Update: Sell with your iPhone (second hand and new)

swapit-blog_appleAfter launching our very first version of Swapit on the Apple App Store a while ago, and numerous updates and feature launches in between, today we launched the most wanted Swapit feature on iPhone: You can now Sell your items whether they’re new or pre-loved, you decide.


We’ve been working hard to get this feature out as quickly as possible. Sometimes it just takes a little longer than expected. In this particular release it’s not just about allowing people to post items for sale. You also need to be able to edit an item, take it offline, mark it as sold, manage your buyers and so on. There are all these little bits and pieces that take user experience to the next level and we are meticulously working on making them available to you in just the best way we can imagine.


In fact, this update comes with over 30 changes. Here is a quick list of some of the most important changes:

  • Added SELL and GIVE AWAY of items (incl. edit, mark sold, active/inactive)
  • Added push notification handling for
    • incoming interested buyers of your items
    • reminder for posted items you sell or give away
    • new likes on items
    • new comments on items
  • Added “Notifications” section to the Inbox
  • Resolved an issue with “Open Chat” button in item details

Furthermore, we’ve put in some important performance enhancements and resolved several other minor bugs and issues.

IMPORTANT NOTICE to iPhone Users: Do Not Kill!

Swapit uses push notifications to deliver chat messages and notifications to your device. If you force-close Swapit you will not receive any such notifications until you restart Swapit or your device. We recommend not to force-close Swapit.

84% of iPhone users we asked, are force-closing their apps. That’s a surprise to me — especially as it does NOT save any battery, like it used to many years ago. So if you’re one of those 84%, you’re not making a difference in terms of battery savings by force-closing your apps, but some of those apps might actually stop receiving push notifications then. That’s also the case for Swapit. It’s nothing we can do about, it’s a special case defined by iOS and we have to abide by that. In short, force-closing apps just makes your phone’s performance worse rather than better – generally speaking.

Read more about this topic at: Apple’s software SVP says quitting multitasking apps not necessary, won’t offer improved battery life



swapit-blog_android-1Your app has been updated too, earlier this week. You can head directly to Google Play and get the latest update too. Though, our changes weren’t as significant as on the iPhone, we’re always looking out for you and you got quite some nifty little tweaks and enhancements under-the-hood with the latest update.

Get the latest Swapit today from:


The State of the Second-Hand Trading Market in Hong Kong – March 2016

At almost every meeting I take, I am getting asked questions like these:

What are the most popular products on Swapit?

What pre-loved items do people trade?

While there’s not an easy answer to those rather simple questions, we can easily look at the category distribution in Swapit. Remember? We’ve got 18 free and 4 premium categories on Swapit. Usually, my standard answer is:

Our most popular product category is Fashion followed by Mobile Phones & Tablets.


swapit-blog_hkScepticism about Second-Hand Trading

From time to time I also get people telling me that they don’t believe there is a market for trading second hand goods in Hong Kong. Usually, those folks are more affluent clientele who personally would not consider purchasing anything second hand.

Personal View. I for my part have a quite distinct view on pre-loved goods. Certain products I would absolutely and already did purchase second hand. My usual example is my daughter’s car seat and her crib, but also a baby gym, a bouncer, a jumperoo, a play pen, mobile phones & tablets (for testing), furniture, a car and property. Yet, there are certain things I do not consider purchasing second hand: mobile phones & tablets (for personal use), computer hardware and cameras & lenses. That’s mainly due to the fact that I buy the best gadgets I can afford. So they’re either so high-spec that no one has them nor sells them. Furthermore, if you pay a small fortune for the highest spec MacBook Pro with all upgrades you can get, you better make sure you get it with as much warranty as possible.

Hong Kong View. The vast majority of local residents are inherently price sensitive. There is some part of Chinese culture that comes with a very distinct understanding of the value of money and that goes through all social layers. Yes, there are many young folks that go out all night, buy $50,000 bottles of champaign in a club (e.g. Boerl & Kroff Magnum), often spending their parents money, though. However, I reckon even they would haggle with you about $5 if you’d try to overcharge them for some soup noodles.

Quality is important, but price efficiency and a good price-value ratio is very important too. So yes, the majority of our traders on Swapit are local Hong Kong residents. Some of them speak some English, but most communicate in Chinese. Luckily Swapit can separate items by language so it’s easy for us non-Chinese speakers.

So while most of our traders are locals, it appears that trading second-hand goods is popular in Hong Kong. It is so popular, that we were actually able to collect a lot of data in that area and compile a great overview for everyone. Before we get to that, let’s look a little bit at some other aspects of trading.

After Work Trading. Once people leave work, eat dinner and arrive at home, that’s the most popular time when they post new items on Swapit. At the same time, we see a constant stream of communication (chat messages and comments) during the course of the day, from morning to late. Of course, during night time there is quite a low engagement time because most folks are asleep.

Signing Up During The Day. Sign ups of new traders usually happens during the course of the whole “awake” day. There is no particular time when more or less people sign up, so that’s quite interesting actually.

Now let’s take a deep dive look at the popular product categories for second hand goods in Hong Kong.


Most Popular Product Categories on Swapit

For the month of March 2016, we’ve taken a much closer look at that distribution and created a beautiful chart to visualize our most popular categories. Let’s have a look at it:


March 2016 Category Distribution on Swapit (click image to zoom)

So in March 2016 the most popular product category on Swapit was Consumer Electronics followed by Fashion and Home Appliances.

Fashion is particularly popular because we have a lot of fashionable female professionals using Swapit. They have great sense of fashion and like to trade dresses, shoes, hand bags jewellery and accessories. Consumer Electronics on the other hand is always a great product category. Mobile phones and tablets are popular nowadays and require an upgrade pretty much every year. The 1 year old devices usually still work fine and are in a decent condition. So it is just natural that their owners prefer to sell them to recover some of the cost of those devices.

Overall, we’re very excited about the prospects of trading pre-loved goods — especially with people nearby. Swapit is the only app that offers this and we are working on bringing other great benefits to Swapit very soon.


About the Chart Data

The chart above is based on the total number of items posted in March 2016 and put into relation to each other. Please note that the chart does not show the actual value posted in each category, but rather the number of items. We have also seen some people mistakingly posting their items in the wrong category which distorts the data a little bit. It is obvious in the chart above that the “Other” category has been heavily overused by many people even though chances to close a sale are much higher when posting an item in the correct category.

Perhaps in a month’s time, we will look at the same data again and see how preferences for trading pre-loved goods in Hong Kong has changed. For now it seems to be very promising and the number of items on Swapit are rapidly growing every day.


Have you used Swapit yet? It’s free. Download it from: