To Resell Or Not To Resell – That Is The Question
26 July 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters
In May of this year, online luxury fashion retailer FarFetch announced the introduction of a ‘resale platform’ – a space allowing customers to trade “pre-loved” items, such as luxury bags, in an effort to boost their sustainability strategy. While many consumers are now concerned with brands they shop with taking this approach, the question remains to be answered as to whether said resale platforms can be successful on a larger scale, and will they make the eco-impact desired of them?
There is no question that the attention now on resale is one of the biggest shifts we have seen in recent retail history, with the market expected to be worth over $41 billion by 2022. Although there can be no guarantee for how reselling platforms (or resale ‘extensions’ established brands could offer) will fare in the future, online consignment sites are already currently outpacing the retail industry as we know it, growing nearly 24 times are quickly. These platforms have positioned themselves as ‘positive’ alternatives to fast-fashion outlets, possibly acting as a prompt for brands to change ethos for the sake of consumer loyalty – with Zara announcing their clothes will become 100% sustainable by 2025.
What’s driving the change?
Ultimately, the change is being caused by the consumer base themselves. Not only is the spotlight firmly staying on sustainable efforts, but buying pre-worn items have become cool again, with the approach being endorsed by many online brands and lifestyle influencers. This has particularly captured the buying habits (and hearts) of Generation Z, with apps like Depop helping to bring the number of the demographic’s consumers willing to buy pre-worn items up to 64% - an increase from 45% in 2016. That being said, there may still be a social stigma attached to buying such pre-loved items, potentially making the idea a harder sell for brands. It can’t be argued that this is fading among consumers, with their focus now based more on making small, environmentally beneficial decisions. FarFetch are the perfect example of how brands can make a reselling strategy work for them, with their Director of Sustainable Business citing that efforts such as these are now a “marker of what good fashion is”.