High street retailers are following in the footsteps of their online rivals, offering more second-hand clothes to lure in shoppers wanting to steer clear of fast fashion and hunt for bargains amid a cost of living crisis.
The second-hand clothing market has exploded over the last decade to an estimated £6.5bn last year, largely thanks to online sites like eBay, Vinted and Depop. That figure is expected to double by 2027.
In 2022, eBay saw a 24 per cent increase of circular fashion businesses join their site, and searches for pre-loved clothing on eBay UK have skyrocketed 1600 per cent since last summer.
Kirsty Keoghan, eBay UK’s global fashion general manager, told City A.M. that shoppers’ changing habits are down to two factors.
“The first is related to consumers’ growing awareness of their individual environmental footprint, and the second is related to their expectation of high-quality products at great value, which is more important than ever as we grapple with the cost-of-living crisis,” Keoghan said.
“A potential recession, the climate crisis, and global unrest are all reasons that, going into 2023, consumers are making shopping decisions based on value… as well as personal values,” Rati Sahi Levesque, co-CEO of online second-hand marketplace The Realreal, said following the publication of a report by the firm on the boom in circular fashion.
But, worried about losing out to online sellers, now mainstream high street retailers want a slice of the pie.
Last week J. Crew Group announced the launch of a resale programme ‘J.Crew Always’, which will sell curated vintage styles in select stores and customers’ pre-owned threads online in return for credit.
Selfridges has also set up its ‘Reselfridges’ scheme, saying it aims for 45 per cent of transactions to come from its circular scheme