The concept of second-hand is not new, but recently pre-loved has seen a real revival, with both consumers and retailers seeing the value in recommerce.
Whether to spend more wisely or shop more sustainably, the growth of second-hand shopping has shown no sign of slowing down in 2023.
In August, Trustpilot published a study on consumer habits with regards to pre-loved goods. They found that consumers spent £661.20 on used items over a 12-month period, as opposed to £484.80 in the previous year.
In the study, over 60% cited concerns about fast fashion as part of their consumer decision-making, while 57% of participants attributed their buying decisions to the cost of living crisis.
With consumers limiting their spending this year due to record-high inflation, retailers have had to react. They have also had to change their, sometimes bad, habits when it comes to their environmental impact.
Recommerce is one route retailers have turned to. Unsurprisingly, clothing is already the most popular second-hand category, with a third (29%) of consumers buying pre-loved fashion. Sales of second-hand bags and accessories (15%) and footwear (15%) are also starting to grow.
There are dedicated recommerce platforms – Thrift+, Trove and Reskinned – which a host of brands have turned to for the hard lifting. These firms offer everything from take back schemes, cleaning and resales for the likes of Gymshark, Levi, Mango, Superdry and White Stuff.
For Spanish fashion giant Zara, their recommerce offering is done in house. In November this year, the high street brand introduced its “Zara Pre-Owned” platform offering repair, resale and donation services in UK stores, online and via its app, in a bid to cut its carbon footprint.
Customers will be able to book a range of repair services for their Zara goods including the replacement of buttons and zippers and mending of seams. Shoppers can access the repair service online or at a Zara store of their choosing.
Zara’s customers can also post pre-loved Zara purchases online for sale. Sellers will be required to take pictures of their goods but the detailed product information will be provided by Zara.
Not just fashion
While second-hand fashion has proved popular with consumers, it does not mean recommerce is limited to clothing and accessories.
Decathlon started with refurbished bikes, offered a tent recycling scheme this summer and plans to expand its Second-Life offering to include fitness equipment, kayaks and rackets next year.
Marketplace eBay has also championed refurbished technology as a way for consumers to combat the cost of living crisis.
“Refurbished is a great solution to getting the tech you love for less and keeping products in circulation. With the cost of living continuing to rise, we’re supporting families by showing the breadth of products you can kit out your homes with,” explained Mark Monte-Colombo, head of refurbished technology at eBay UK.
Amazon Second Chance store
For ecommerce giant Amazon, they not only saw the benefit of second-hand in the run up to Christmas but also physical retail.
At the end of November, its Second Chance Store in London offered consumers the opportunity to buy quality returned products in-person, for the first time. Kitchen and household appliances, books, games and toys, electricals were available for up to 50% off.
The pop-up also featured a Repairs Zone where customers could participate in free repairs workshops onsite.
“Amazon is committed to giving more products a second chance – both through helping customers shop pre-loved, and through programmes to recycle, trade-in and repair products, contributing to a more circular economy,” said John Boumphrey, UK country manager, Amazon.
“The Second Chance Store that we’ve launched today with Barnardo’s is all about offering customers a great way to shop second-hand this festive season, while supporting a brilliant charity we have been working with for many years.”