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Kate Young will always remember her first big-ticket baby purchase. “I was online and saw an advertisement for the Bugaboo Donkey stroller,” the mother of three says. “It wasn’t coming out in Canada until after I was due, so I preordered it from New York City and had it shipped to Buffalo, because I wanted to be the first person in Toronto to have it.” It was 2011, and Young spent US$1,400. With plans to switch to a smaller stroller soon, Young intends to offload her used Donkey for a minimum of $1,200 through the buy-and-sell group she manages on Facebook. “$1,200 would be a quick sell,” she says. “If I wanted to sell it in one day? $900.”

Whether driven by financial and environmental concerns, or the desire for high-end, designer goods, the consumption of secondhand products has never been easier, thanks in part to an explosion of buy-and-sell platforms in recent years and a flourishing market for youngster goods.

“With fewer children per household, one might expect the market for baby and children’s gear to be declining; however, this has not been the case,” says Sally Seston, managing director at Retail Category Consultants in New York. With a growing economy and today’s typically smaller families, the money spent for each child is actually increasing, Seston says. The rising average age of first-time mothers with more established careers and disposable income is also among the reasons demand has increased. Likewise, “Baby boomers are becoming grandparents, and with their high disposable incomes, they are choosing to spoil the next generation.”

As high-end children’s products become more mainstream, higher prices and better construction also create more opportunity for resale. “[Even] the business market has taken notice,” Seston adds, pointing to Kidizen, an online marketplace for buying, selling and swapping children’s goods. Kidizen raised US$3.2-million in venture capital in 2017 after surpassing 250,000 users and US$1-million in sales – a more than 100-per-cent increase from 2016. And while sales through small merchants and online private accounts makes it impossible to measure the total value of the children’s-goods resale market, Seston estimates that one of North America’s most notable players, secondhand children’s clothing and equipment chain Once Upon A Child, generates annual sales of approximately US$350-million.

In Canada, purchases of secondhand baby items increased by 36 per cent in 2017, according to Kijiji’s 2018 Second-Hand Economy Index report. The site listed more than 2.4 million ads related to baby items, as categorized by the seller, in 2017. Meanwhile, on eBay, there are nearly one million secondhand baby and children’s items available to Canadians at any given time. “Roughly 600,000 secondhand baby and children’s items are bought by Canadians on eBay each year – that’s an item every minute,” says Camille Kowalewski, head of communications at eBay Canada.

New or used, one thing is certain: The amount of “stuff” parents buy for their kids won’t be subsiding any time soon. “With millennials in their 20s and 30s – prime reproducing years – and their continued increase in disposable income, we expect this market to continue to grow,” Seston says.

Tricks of the trade

Thinking of trying to find a deal in the secondhand baby-goods market? Here are some strategies whether you’re buying or selling


Stick to the Hits

High-end strollers, brand-name clothing and pack-and-plays are all in high demand, Kate Young says. “Clothing in particular sells well in lots,” she adds. “So, if you have five pairs of shorts and can sell them as a bundle for, say, $20, you should have no problem.”

Handle with Care

Mind your possessions to ensure maximum payback. “[Selling] definitely makes me want to take better care of my things,” Young says. “I’m certainly not going to leave my stroller unlocked in public places or spray sunscreen on the kids while they’re sitting in it.”

Make the Effort

“If you take the time to shoot quality pictures and the products appear to be in good condition, they will definitely get snapped up quicker,” Young says. Clean items before listing them and avoid dim lighting when taking photos.


Budget Accordingly

Expect to pay about half the retail price for well-maintained products, and 60 per cent to 75 per cent of the purchase price for brand-new or barely used goods. “A lot of people post brand-new stuff in its original packaging after baby showers,” Young says. “I always tell them to mark it down so it’s more appealing.”

Do Your Research

Always be sure to check if the warranty is still valid – and transferable (if needed). “Sometimes it’s easier and almost as cheap to buy something new, on sale, and have the peace of mind you can return it or get it fixed under warranty if something goes wrong,” says Truc Nguyen, a Toronto-based fashion editor, stylist and mother of two.

Time It Right

According to Kijiji, September has consistently been the most popular time for people to post baby-related items, meaning early fall tends to offer both a wider selection and a better chance to negotiate.

Baby got back

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Bugaboo Fox, $1,449 at

Want to spoil your little ones and recover some cash down the line? Here’s a glance at some of the buzziest baby gear Canadians are buying and selling right now.

Stroll call

The newest model from luxury Dutch brand Bugaboo, the Fox marries comfortable steering with lightweight mobility. Featuring all-wheel suspension and a weight of just less than 10 kilograms, the fully customizable, reversible-seat stroller is the high-end route to having it all.

Bugaboo Fox, starting at $1,449 at

Sitting pretty

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Clek Foonf Mammoth car seat, $649.99 at

Clek’s Canadian-made Foonf is a convertible car seat with an extended rear-facing weight limit of up to about 22 kilograms and forward-facing safety capabilities for double the use. It’s also slim enough to allow for a three-across configuration when combined with Clek’s other infant and booster seats, and now comes in a soft merino wool that’s hypoallergenic, temperature regulating, odour resistant and stain proof.

Clek Foonf Mammoth car seat, $649.99 at

Fine dining

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Bloom Fresco highchair, $748–$998 at

Looking for a tasteful way to feed your tot? Consider the Fresco by Bloom, a contemporary-style highchair that includes a 360-degree swivel seat and three recline positions, plus minimal nooks and crannies to prevent trapped crumbs and spills.

Bloom Fresco highchair, $748–$998 at

Mat finish

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The Pieces Play Mat, $169 at

Unlike their interlocking counterparts, these Canadian-designed play mats feature a single, smooth surface that’s waterproof, anti-microbial and easy to clean. Made from non-toxic XPE, each reversible play mat comes in two stylish patterns that won’t detract from any well-considered decor.

The Pieces Play Mat, $169 at

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