Sustainability as envisioned by Resale
Accessible and inclusive purchasing choices
The global resale apparel market is growing three times faster when compared to the overall global apparel market. Growth is particularly strong in North America, where the resale market will more than double in size to $82 billion by 2026 compared to 2021, and the online resale market alone will nearly quadruple in size by 2026.
This is due first and foremost to the fact that the online market has grown with the development of technology and Corona, which has expanded the touch points between the resale market and consumers.
Another factor is that the pandemic has also brought about a significant change in consumer values. As they spent more time at home during the self-restraint period, they reorganized their belongings once again and shifted to a more thrifty lifestyle More consumers.
In addition, younger generations, such as Generation Z, tend to consider environmental and social impacts and choose resale items as a more sustainable choice. We seem to be starting to have a more positive impression of resale items than before.
In this newsletter, we look at the growing resale market, particularly in the apparel sector, and how our consumer behavior is changing.
Will the service change everything?
When we buy things, the “used” option is becoming more common. According to a survey by ThreadUP, an American resale e-commerce company, the percentage of respondents who have purchased or may purchase used goods in the future has increased from 52% in 2017 to 93% in 2021.
In Japan, the rapid growth of Mercari and other flea market apps has made it easier to buy and sell secondhand goods. This can be said to be a result of daily consumption behavior leading to sustainable choices. As market services expand in this way, what changes are required of us consumers?
According to research in 2022, how we perceive the value of using flea market apps will influence our environmentally conscious behavior. For example, having altruistic thoughts such as “by selling something we no longer use, we can extend its life cycle” or “someone else can buy it at a lower price” can motivate us to make sustainable choices. On the other hand, selfish thoughts such as “I can make money by selling things I no longer use” or “I can easily dispose of them” will have a negative impact.
It may be our little awareness that makes the most of the foundation laid by services.
Resale and Greenwashing
Various fashion brands are entering the resale market, but is it really sustainable? Experts point out that while resale programs have the potential to change consumer behavior, in the end they are more like greenwashing without degrowth. Launched earlier this month, Shein Exchange’s goal is to “provide a destination for customers to become active participants in the cycle and find a new closet for their pre-loved products. If products are simply interpreted as being recycled and given a second life, people may end up consuming more of the primary goods.
African Culture Created by Secondhand Clothing
The market for used clothing and shoes has grown rapidly in recent years: used clothing exports were worth US$1.4 billion in 2002 and are on track to reach nearly US$4 billion in exports by 2020. In addition to reuse and upcycling in Europe and the United States, large amounts of donated used clothing are exported to Africa and other countries. Amid concerns about textile waste and its negative impact on the domestic textile industry, the positive potential of used clothing is also attracting attention. Aspiring African designers are sourcing easily available used clothing and creatively reworking them into new garments and accessories. By challenging gender and religious restrictions, such as wearing tight or short clothing, and expressing their originality, they are having a profound impact on African fashion culture.
Archival Items Driving the Resale Market
It is not only thrifty and environmentally conscious consumers who are driving the growth of the resale market. So-called high-income earners are also attracted to the resale market: , 90% of shoppers with annual incomes of $175,000 or more had recently purchased resale items. They are looking for rare items that can only be found on the used market, such as limited edition Air Jordans. Also, among young people, certain designers and eras are attracting attention, such as Dior during the John Galliano period; the singer Olivia Rodrigo, who has a Generation Z following, memorably showed up at the White House wearing a vintage Chanel. Interest in fashion history and craft is driving the expansion of the resale market.
Activation of clothes lying in the closet
ThreadUp is the leading platform in the US resale market. The secret to its popularity lies in its easy sales process. All you have to do is order a special bag from the site, fill it with clothes you no longer need, and send it back. This eliminates the tedious process of taking product photos and communicating with buyers, which is why ThreadUp is gaining so much support from many people. The company is also active in corporate partnerships. The company has partnered with a company that operates a rental dress business, and is involved in the resale of dresses that are no longer rented. From home closets to product inventory, ThreadUp’s activities to activate unused clothing are worth keeping an eye on.