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“It’s beginning to look a lot like a sustainable second-hand Christmas,” as pre-loved fashion takes off

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With fast fashion under microscope for its environment impact and kids wanting to be more sustainable, the second-hand apparel market is growing – at a miraculous 21-times faster than the primary market.

So finds B-Stock, the world’s largest online B2B platform for returned and excess apparel. The trend is being driven by the rise in online resale and consignment marketplaces, as well as young consumers who look to make more sustainable shopping choices.

This holiday, with easy online access to big brands for smaller budgets and socially responsible purchasing in mind, second-hand will be a gift-giving trend. 

According to Ben Whitaker, B-Stock’s EMEA Director, the trend means people are more likely to wake up to find the ‘gift of used’ sitting under the tree. “We have witnessed a shift in consumer attitudes towards sustainable shopping which shows no sign of slowing down for the gift-giving season,” he says. “Over the last two years alone we have seen a 254% increase in transactions for used apparel and it looks set to continue long into the future. As a result, giving the gift of used will be in vogue this year.”

B-Stock shows the top five used gifts for this year’s seasonal holiday will include designer purses and handbags, denim styles, footwear – including over-the-knee boots – women’s trendy clothing and brand-name fine watches.

“It is now easier to access big brands for smaller budgets via resale and consignment marketplaces,” Whitaker adds. “We are also seeing consumers trying to make their Christmas more sustainable by using recyclable wrapping paper, for example. Giving the gift of sustainability has become this year’s Christmas fashion which everyone wants to wear.”

The shift in consumer behaviour is putting pressure on retailers to have sustainable business practices. So how can retailers get into the second-hand game? According to Whitaker, a recommerce solution is the way to go. This might include selling used, repaired or rebuilt items directly to consumers via a branded recommerce site.

For retailers who have large amounts of excess or returned inventory, a B2B recommerce marketplace can be a great, sustainable option. A B2B marketplace enables retailers to sell bulk quantities of merchandise directly to secondary market business buyers. Some of today’s largest retailers and brands are using this type of solution to not only offset loss for inventory, but also ensure excess items stay out of landfills. 

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