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2020: a great year for second-hand machinery

Julien Jean (centre) with his office team.

Many sectors are striving to get back on their feet following the coronavirus outbreak but one recycling market is busier than ever: that for second-hand equipment. Julien Jean, commercial manager of online marketplace, shares his experiences of a year that will be hard to forget.

Looking back, how was 2020 for you? 

‘It’s been quite a year. We’ve had to constantly adapt due to the pandemic and push back some of our projects. We have noticed a major peak in traffic on our platform, starting in March, during Europe’s first wave of the coronavirus. This translated into a 25% increase in monthly user activity. The popularity of used equipment in the construction and demolition as well as the recycling sector is surely more newsworthy than ever. The downside is that that we’ve had to postpone or cancel some decisions regarding our PRO service and a subsequent promotional campaign. On the whole, I’d say our operations returned to normal in September.’

How do you view the recycling market right now? 

‘It is doing a lot better lately with the price of recycled materials reaching new highs in December. I’d say the business sector is back on track and companies are again interested in investing in both new and second-hand equipment. Let’s hope it stays that way.’

Did the pandemic affect how many machines were being sold?

‘This is a very interesting question. To be honest, I don’t know the exact number of machines sold on a monthly basis as our platform focuses on building connections between buyers and vendors. It can take a while before business deals are concluded but I do know that several dozens of machines find a buyer each month. As I mentioned, activity and sales have gone up in recent months. And I’m happy to say the number of vendors creating new accounts on our platform is still growing. We feel a strong enthusiasm from recycling players and are very optimistic for the months to come.’

What were recent milestones and challenges?

‘The major evolution of our platform is the implementation of an efficient ”bulk import” feature. This enables an automatic update of our vendors’ stocks to meet the demand of our users. As you can imagine, this is quite a timesaver. Also, we have also launched a partnership with the platform, which provides third-party reviews of equipment, as it really complements our business. This has been a success so far.’

What kind of equipment is most popular at the moment?

‘Products in high demand are screeners, material handlers, shears and balers, followed by attachments. But this may vary from one week to another. The biggest sales are in the excavator category, which makes sense as it represents the greatest part of our online portfolio. Recycling equipment still attracts a lot of attention.’

The recycling industry is a pretty traditional sector. Do you think a company like yours offering digital services will gain momentum?

‘Our platform went online in April 2019 and the numbers have shown consistent and considerable growth since then. Regardless of how much our visitors know about software, they enjoy having an easy overview of our complete online equipment database. They can search for whatever they like and cannot get lost. I think our future is bright as the digitalisation trend has only just kicked off in the construction and demolition and recycling industries. As I see it, we have already secured a great spot for ourselves by entering the market early. For now, the recycling sector is still catching up with the rest of the world but look around and you can see it is changing and evolving. More recyclers and technology providers are investing heavily in digitalisation. That’s the way of doing business in the future.’

What are your plans and goals for 2021? 

‘Our developers are finishing the latest version of our website that should be online by the end of this month. Our clients will therefore be able to choose what kind of profile suits them best, depending on the number of machines they put up for sale. Whether they are an occasional small-scale vendor or a big player with a fleet of hundreds of machines. We have launched our PRO service to help put our members’ machines in the spotlight on different networks. This will improve visibility even more, further boosting our clients’ sales.’

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