Case: C2C e-commerce puts the circular economy into action in daily life


There are usable goods worth billions of euros just lying in people’s closets in Finland. The goal of the circular economy is to conserve natural resources by making efficient and sustainable use of materials. C2C e-commerce is an effective way of circulating goods between consumers, which is why Posti wants to play an active role in promoting responsible C2C e-commerce alongside traditional linear e-commerce.

In November 2019, Posti and Tori joined forces to introduce the Tori parcel, a C2C e-commerce service that makes it easy to purchase the transport of a customer parcel via the Tori website.

“The distance between the seller and buyer has been an obstacle to the growth of C2C e-commerce. Tori parcel helps C2C e-commerce grow from a local market to a national market. Posti’s extensive network of parcel lockers makes it convenient for sellers to send goods to customers anywhere in Finland,” says Marketplace Director Timo Huhtamäki from Tori.

C2C e-commerce extends the lifecycle of products

Consumption in accordance with the principle of the circular economy is continuing to grow in popularity. According to a survey commissioned by Tori in October 2019, 76 percent of Finns believe that, in a few years’ time, they will buy more second-hand products than now.

Smooth C2C e-commerce services make it easy to give a new lease of life to products you no longer need. “When a consumer buys second-hand products on Tori, it reduces the need to manufacture new products and prevents the emissions that would arise from importing the product. Product lifecycles are extended when fully serviceable products remain in use,” Huhtamäki explains.

The key reasons for choosing C2C e-commerce include saving money and wanting to expand product lifecycles. Sellers are mainly motivated by wanting to get rid of items that they no longer need, avoiding throwing things away and wanting to recycle.

The younger the age group, the more emphasis is placed on the eco-friendly aspects of C2C trade. Among Tori customers under the age of 40, about 75 percent highlighted the environmentally friendly aspects of C2C trade in the recent survey. The younger generation also has a more favorable attitude toward buying second-hand goods in general.

We need to put the goods balance to work

Timo Huhtamäki highlights the concept “goods balance”, the size of which is difficult to estimate. “It is clear that there are usable goods worth billions of euros just lying in our closets. The national economy benefits when completely usable goods are kept moving by C2C trade. At the same time, the need for newly manufactured products is reduced and consumption becomes more sustainable from an environmental standpoint.”

“The total value of the consumer goods trade in Finland is approximately 20 billion euros, and C2C e-commerce accounts for about 500 million euros — or just over two percent — of this total. If we can increase the share of C2C e-commerce by a couple of percentage points, the share of total consumption represented by recycled goods will increase, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of consumers.

There is natural demand for the Tori parcel service

Tori is Finland’s most popular C2C e-commerce platform. In 2018, Tori had more than 2.4 monthly users, who traded goods for a total of EUR 626 million. “The Tori parcel opens up a larger market for buyers and sellers, and we expect to see strong growth. Based on the first few months, there is clearly natural demand for a service such as the Tori parcel,” Huhtamäki points out.

According to Huhtamäki, the easily accessible Posti parcel lockers are a good fit with the logistics of C2C e-commerce. “We currently have about three million transactions per year. I think it is possible that, in the medium term, Tori parcels and Posti's parcel lockers could be used to facilitate about a million transactions.”