Being a conscious customer is no longer niche or too progressive. What was once a whim, a fad, is becoming a major trend in consumption. We are witnessing a shift, a minimization, a sustainability, a closing of the production and consumption loop. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the process of transformation and awareness. We had a lot of time to verify our possessions and needs. We cooked more, looked in our basements, libraries and closets. Covid housekeeping made us realize that we have far too many unnecessary clothes, which resulted in a flood of offers on all portals and platforms. The machine started.
The world of fashion, pardon me, clothing is not only haute couture (great designs and quality) or independent small brands, it is above all a mass, built by the fast fashion segment (mass production of cheap, low quality clothes by large corporations such as Inditex, or LPP). From the distribution point of view, the market is also created by the Resale (second-hand sales), Thrift (sales of used clothes, garage sales) and Donation (free-of-charge giving of clothes to friends or charity) segments.
The Resale segment is projected to be larger than Fast Fashion in the apparel category by 2029. Moreover, the combined Resale, Thrift and Donation segments will nearly double the size of Fast Fashion.
Experiencing over owning, or is it experiencing owning?
The trend of experiencing, sharing economy (one thing, multiple users) in the apparel category has evolved into specific yet varied consumerism of second-hand clothing. Passing on clothes within the family or shopping in “rag” stores are not associated with quality or fashion. However, after appropriate marketing efforts and the creation of modern, UX platforms, the same mechanisms take on a completely new, very attractive nature. Nearly half of consumers are already using second-hand platforms. The younger the user the more willing they are.
Young consumers are the quickest to embrace the trend of buying second-hand fashion. As many as 40% of Generation Z representatives and 30% of millennials buy clothes, shoes or accessories from resale. It is worth noting the growth dynamics in 2016-2019, among generation Z: from 26% to 40%, among millennials from 21% to 30%.
Resale is no longer “junk” sold on allegro or in “rag shops”. These are full-value, often unique items, pleasing buyers, and allowing sellers to replace their closet. Clothes, shoes or accessories are in a way “borrowed” from stores. After some time, boredom, change of preferences or size 😉 they are put on sale again, and the market dictates the price. They are often sold for the original price, sometimes higher, for example when the product came from a small production batch or a limited edition.
Where and how does this take place?
- Vintage stores have gained their own online versions in the form of global sites such as Depop or Vestiaire, or locally on Vinted. You can sell and find gems or just good quality clothes there and the transactions are safe and perfectly comfortable, with no noticeable commission.
- Resale on Facebook groups of fans of specific brands allows you to make your dreams come true, but also, and definitely more interesting, in these closed groups, honest and articulate communities of critics are formed, whose opinions and ideas often lay the foundations for the production and pricing strategy that brand owners use
- Second-hand stores have evolved into creative re-sale institutions, like Warsaw’s City Bazaar, where you can rent a rack to let passers by “rummage through our closet” and, of course, buy
- Brands and retailers are increasingly offering resale solutions to their customers as part of their commitment to environmental neutrality. The introduction of the Zalando Preowned service by e-commerce giant Zalando was widely echoed. As part of the service, Zalando offers a space for resale of brand new, but previously owned clothes. For returning them to Zalando you can collect a voucher or donate the profit as a donation to the Polish Red Cross or WeForest.
The dominance of the secondary circuit is becoming a fact, bringing hope for the environment, new habits and relief to consumers’ wallets. Observing the implemented solutions is fascinating in itself, but let’s think what benefits it can give us?
The trend of conscious consumption of fashion, clothing is becoming more and more systematic and is expanding to other categories such as home furnishings, electronics, books, and food products. It would be wise to be in control of the resale, recycling, and donation processes, whether creating our own systems, apps, or looking to partner with existing ones like Too Good To Go.