What are clothing retailers to do as consignment shops grow in popularity?
Consignment stores selling vintage and “gently used” stores pack a big punch these days. According to 2017 data from the digital resale platform ThredUP, consignment and resale apparel sales are on the rise. Secondhand apparel is already an $18 billion industry, but the resale biz is projected to keep growing by 11 percent annually to reach $33 billion by 2021.
Millennials and grandmas, in particular, are going all in on vintage charm. In fact, ThredUP reports these two demographics are 30 to 32 percent more likely, respectively, to do their shopping secondhand.
Why all of the sudden attention on resale apparel? One reason is that today’s consumers would rather differentiate themselves than blend in with their fashion purchases. Young and young-thinking customers today are more interested in finding clothing with a story than snatching up the biggest brand name. Suddenly, in 2018, finding a one-of-a-kind “vintage” clothing piece carries more social clout than just being the guy or girl who can pay the highest ticket price.
Secondhand clothing is also more sustainable than manufactured apparel, and consumers seem to be more concerned than ever about environmental impact. In fact, Forbes reports that 58 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for sustainable brands.
Customers who can’t afford to purchase sustainable products at a higher price point have the option of either buying their clothes fast-fashion or buying them secondhand. Guess which option nearly guarantees no one else shows up in the same outfit?
Even fast-fashion retailers such as H&M, Mango and Zara are delving into offering their customers ethical apparel lines, in addition to hash-tagged recycling initiatives. However, it’s tough for e-commerce to compete with consignment shops selling pre-manufactured clothing, which has very little negative environmental impact. Judging by recent statistics about Gen Z’s sustainability concerns, the “green customer” is only going to grow in number in years to come.
- Fashion Retailers Have to Adapt to Deal With Secondhand Clothes Sold Online – Forbes
- Annual Resale Report, 2017 – ThredUP
- Millennials Will Spend Money for Eco-Friendly Clothing – Refinery 29
- The Luxury Trends of 2018: Green Is the New Black and More – Forbes
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How will the growth of resale and consignment affect mainstream retail brands? How can traditional retailers appeal to customers that seek out secondhand goods?