Director of the ISEM Fashion Business School
A few weeks ago, Zara, the Spanish fashion chain with stores all over the world, announced its entry into the second-hand market. With a pilot test in the United Kingdom, through the Zara Pre Owned platform, it will offer the possibility of reselling used garments from any season to another individual, repairing or donating to the Red Cross.
This initiative is part of the steps that Inditex, its parent company, is taking in the area of sustainability. In this way, fast fashion enters a market, the second-hand market, which in many countries is experiencing a golden age.
The buying and selling of second-hand products appeared and expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries, but in the 20th century it suffered a decline and stigmatization. Now, in the XXI century, it emerges with a renewed popularity. In the United States, estimates by ThredUp, one of the giants in the sector, suggest that the global second-hand market will grow 24 percent in 2022, and that in 2026 it will double its volume and reach 82 billion dollars.
In the case of luxury products, the growth of the second-hand market (which has a volume of 24 billion dollars) is being four times faster than that of the primary market (12 percent vs. 3 percent).
The possibility of recycling garments or repairing them to give them a new life implies a change of mentality and attitude.
Many analysts place the origin of this enormous growth in the economic crisis and the inflation data and, therefore, in the need to save and buy price-oriented. However, academic studies point to a more complex scenario, in which purchase motivations present an interesting mix that allows us to observe new consumer trends.
In the United States, frugality in consumption has appeared as a new lifestyle, which has been accentuated after the pandemic and confinement. People want to buy less and be more creative with what they choose, so price (what a good costs, an objective matter) and value (attributed by the buyer, a subjective matter) are now particularly relevant to consumers. buyers.
The possibility of recycling garments or repairing them to give them new life implies a change of mentality and attitude, especially in a hyper-consumption market like the North American one.
Some brands have been able to channel this revolution into consumer values to become benchmarks for sustainability, such as Patagonia, which donated 1 percent of its profits annually and has just announced the brand’s donation to fight against climate change. Because for frugal consumers, social and environmental impact is an important purchasing variable.
A game for the centenials: the motivations of second-hand consumers are not only economic or sustainability. Factors such as leisure or entertainment also seem to play an important role in this new pattern of consumption. Browsing through clothes and looking for bargains or treasures are also important stimuli. Especially for the youngest, who seem to find in the fact of going shopping a diversion that brings shopping closer to playing.
In fact, the same ThredUp report indicates that 62 percent of millennials and generation Z look for second-hand products before new ones.
To be continue…