Second-Hand Fashion as a Business Model: How Companies Benefit from Rising Consumer Awareness [5 Reading Tips]

Second-Hand Fashion as a Business Model
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In the fashion world, one collection follows the next – at a rapid pace. Especially because of the impact this has on the environment, more and more people are rethinking their consumer behaviour. The alternative that everyone has already heard of is called second-hand fashion. Its popularity has increased so significantly that even fashion giants like Zalando have decided to launch their own second-hand platforms. In today’s reading tips of the week, we show you which other companies are successfully operating in this segment, why it is worth investing in second-hand fashion and how you can integrate the trend into your own business strategy in the best possible way.

Second-Hand Fashion Online: Who Are the Big Players?

First of all, there are C2C platforms such as Vinted, eBay Kleinanzeigen and momox, where members can put their clothes up for sale. Vinted, formerly known as Kleiderkreisel, was one of the first successful portals for second-hand fashion and – unlike eBay Kleinanzeigen and momox – only sells fashion items. Vinted is basically structured like a flea market and easy to use, which contributes significantly to its popularity. momox, in turn, was already one of Germany’s largest second-hand shops in 2019 and only recently expanded its range of products by adding a fashion section, which is intended to secure further market share.

With the increasing success of second-hand fashion, it comes as little surprise that other companies are also trying to gain a foothold in this segment. Two examples of this are ASOS Marketplace and ABOUT YOU, a subsidiary of OTTO. ASOS, the largest British online mail order company in the fashion and beauty sector, offers private sellers the opportunity to apply for a virtual boutique on its »Marketplace« platform in order to sell second-hand fashion there.

Young online shops like NA-KD have also recognised the potential of second-hand fashion and added a separate category for exactly this type of fashion. As you can see, the second-hand industry already encompasses a wide range of businesses, and there will certainly be more companies joining it in the future.

Second-Hand Fashion: Why Is It Worth Investing in the Trend?

Of course, the question now is whether it even makes sense to jump on this bandwagon when there are already so many competitors. The answer is clearly yes! Let us show you why: according to the »Fashion 2030 – Sehen, was morgen Mode ist« study conducted by the management consultancy firm KPMG and the EHI Retail Institute, second-hand fashion has the potential to claim a 20 per cent share of the market in the next ten years – an impressive figure.

Do you need even more reasons to invest in second-hand fashion? The study also found that approximately one third of consumers in Germany (34 per cent) have already bought second-hand clothing – and this percentage will certainly increase in the near future, as 28 per cent of respondents stated that they could at least imagine buying second-hand clothing. Are you convinced now?

In addition, the sustainability debate, which is currently more heated than ever before, also plays a fundamental role in the fashion industry. This is reflected in a survey on the reasons for buying second-hand clothing in Germany, which was carried out by momox in 2020: 86 per cent of those surveyed justified their decision by saying that second-hand clothing was good for the environment – and this makes sense because second-hand fashion definitely supports the development towards a circular economy. This means that it is essential for companies to take consumer awareness into account when developing their own business strategies. However, the question is: what is the best way to do this?

Second-Hand Fashion: How Should Companies Proceed?

As the examples above have shown, it does not have to be a complete switch to second-hand fashion. Even a separate category in the online shop shows the customer that you are aware of the increasing demand for second-hand clothing and want to offer a comprehensive shopping experience.

There are two options when it comes to buying and selling second-hand clothing: you can either buy second-hand fashion from different sources and then sell it on your own, or you can allow users to offer their second-hand clothing on your platform themselves. Numerous established players charge a commission for this service. Nevertheless, you should definitely make sure that the commission you charge is not too high.

As with traditional online shops, you should also ensure a clear layout – a feature that has earned Vinted in particular a lot of positive feedback. It is fundamentally important for companies to take advantage of rising consumer awareness and support customers on their journey to minimalism. What are you waiting for?

Our 5 Reading Tips of the Week

The Rise of Second-Hand: Exploring the Opportunities of Re-Commerce [BMI Lab]

Will Shopping Second-Hand Change the Fashion Industry? [Raconteur Publishing]

A Beginner’s Guide to Shopping Second-Hand [The Courier]

Pandemic Prompts Surge in Support for Second-Hand Clothing [inews.co.uk]

»Pre-Loved« Fashion Moves from Niche to Mainstream as Retailers Join the Fray [The Guardian]

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