Founded in 2015, Danggeun Market South Korea’s largest mobile app-based marketplace for second-hand goods that builds upon the gaps of previous initiatives and creates a community around participation in the circular economy (Shu 2020).
In the past few decades, South Korea underwent rapid industrialisation and economic development, increasing the amount of disposable income for the average citizen. Naturally, South Koreans became willing to spend an increasing amount of money on products beyond daily necessities. Items no longer wanted were either discarded or sold on online consumer-to-consumer marketplaces that started gaining popularity in 2003 through the internet community ‘Joonggonara’ (J.I. Kim 2020). However, such second-hand marketplaces suffered a blow on their reputation following repeated scandals involving fraud transactions and the lack of a product quality assurance mechanism (Y.H. Lee 2020; Oh 2020).
Building upon the drawbacks of previous initiatives, Danggeun Market provides a quality-assured channel for ordinary citizens to participate in the circular economy. By only showing listings of sellers located within a six-kilometre radius and providing user identity verification systems, Danggeun Market removes the safety and fraud considerations that caused hesitations about participating in a consumer-to-consumer marketplace (J.H. Kim 2020). Moreover, by encouraging sellers and buyers to develop personal relationships online and offline, Danggeun Market brings about communities identified by their participation in the circular economy. This encourages people to see second-hand marketplaces as not just a mere channel for side income, but rather a platform that brings back the nostalgic neighbourhood culture of meeting the needs of each other and re-affirms their “pro-environmental self-identity” (Lim, Shin and Jeong 2019).
As of September 2020, Danggeun Market maintains a monthly active user (MAU) base of 10 million, with each user spending an average of 20 minutes per day on the app (A Kim 2020). According to the founders, the MAU numbers have increased 130% annually since its inception (Saxena 2020). COVID-19 served as an unexpected blessing; users noted that the app was particularly attractive during this period as it allowed them to discard unwanted items in their house without traveling far distances to sell them (H.S. Lee 2020). In 2020, the number of listings rose from 4.4 million in January to 8.4 million in April (Saxena 2020). In September 2020, Danggeun Market noted that the second-hand transactions on its platform contributed to a reduction of 191,782 tonnes of greenhouse gases (Y.S. Lee 2020). The platform facilitated a monthly average of 2.8 million listings for clothing/accessories, 1.52 million listings for digital products, 1.41 million listings for child products, and 880,000 listings for furniture items (Y.S. Lee 2020). The app became so popular that “Do you Danggeun?” became a trending phrase across the country (A Kim 2020). Danggeun Market has already launched an equivalent app based in the UK under the name Karrot, and hopes to expand to other international markets as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides (Karrot 2020; Shu 2020).
Kim, A. (2020). Danggeun Market, ‘Gukminapp’ dwetda…weol cheunman sayong dolpa’ [당근마켓, ‘국민앱’ 됐다…月 천만 사용 돌파] [Online]. Financial News. Available at: https://www.fnnews.com/news/202009090754003089 (Accessed: 21 October 2020) (only available in Korean)
Kim, J.H. (2020). Danggeun Market Chasing After Troubled Coupang [Online]. Korea Times. Available at: https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2020/08/694_290886.html (Accessed: 21 October 2020).
Kim, J.I. (2020). Chasaedae leader – gyeongjae: Lee Seungwoo Joonggonara daepyo [차세대 리더 – 경제: 이승우 중고나라 대표] [Online]. Sisa Journal. Available at: http://www.sisajournal.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=206316 (Accessed: 21 October 2020). (only available in Korean)
Lee, H.S. (2020). Danggeun Market “’Seulsaegwon’ chaekimjineun jiyeokplatform dwegetda [당근마켓 “’슬세권’ 책임지는 지역플랫폼 되겠다] [Online]. Yonhap News. Available at: https://www.yna.co.kr/view/AKR20200714153100017?input=1195m (Accessed: 21 October 2020). (only available in Korean)
Lee, Y.H. (2020). Danggeun Market, Joonggonara ddarajabgo shinheunggangja ddeo-oreun iyuneun [당근마켓, 중고나라 따라잡고 신흥강자 떠오른 이유는] [Online]. E Daily. Available at: https://www.edaily.co.kr/news/read?newsId=01308726625930296&mediaCodeNo=2 57 (Accessed: 21 October 2020). (only available in Korean)
Lee, Y.S. (2020). Danggeun Market, joonggogeorae haetdeoni…onshilgas 19manton gamso [당근마켓, 중고거래 했더니…온실가스 19 만 t 감소] [Online]. Newsis. Available at: https://newsis.com/view/?id=NISX20200921_0001173073&cID=13001&pID=13000 (Accessed: 21 October 2020). (only available in Korean)
Lim, Shin and Joung. (2019) ‘Advancing Sustainable Consumption in Korea and Japan: From Re-Orientation of Consumer Behavior to Civic Actions’, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 11, p14.
Oh, J. (2020). Joonggosagiro 50eok ddeuteo pilipin hohwasaenghwal, eolguleobneun geunom jabhyeotda [중고사기로 50 억 뜯어 필리핀 호화생활, 얼굴 없는 그놈 잡혔다] [Online]. Chosun Daily. Available at: https://www.chosun.com/national/regional/jeju/2020/10/21/ZRMCHRFBZ5GANCQ4YUID: 3035361570 11 DU4O57NCI/?utm_source=naver&utm_medium=original&utm_campaign=news (Accessed: 21 October 2020). (only available in Korean)
Saxena, A. (2020). Danggeun Market, the South Korean secondhand marketplace app, raises $33 million Series C [Online]. Inventiva. Available at: https://www.inventiva.co.in/trends/apurva/danggeun-market-the-south-koreansecondhand-marketplace-app-raises-33-million-series-c/ (Accessed: 21 October 2020).
Shu, C. (2020). Danggeun Market, the South Korean secondhand marketplace app, raises $33 million Series C [Online]. TechCrunch. Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2020/06/01/danggeun-market-the-south-korean-secondhandmarketplace-app-raises-33-million-series-c/ (Accessed: 21 October 2020).