Is Pre-Owned the New ‘Fast Fashion’?


A new study by Vestiaire Collective, an online site for the resale of designer and premium fashion, has exposed the changing attitudes of female consumers towards clothing and pre-owned fashion post the global economic turndown. Revealing a move away from the days of ‘fast throw away’ fashion, modern British women are favouring a sustainable way to buy and manage their clothing, increasingly prioritising quality over quantity. The survey conducted by IPSOS reports that British women are leading the way for a increasing popularity in pre-owned online fashion with over 60% of the female population now switched on to buying and selling pre-owned clothing online.

Overall 55% of women polled in Europe and the US said they had or would like to buy pre-owned fashion online with 54% women admitting they have or would like to sell their unwanted fashion items online. However the survey reveals that British women are one step ahead of their European and American counterparts when it comes to being a savvy shopper with 62% stating that they had or would like to buy pre-owned online, and an impressive 65% divulging that they had or would like to sell their unwanted fashion items online.

The survey which was conducted with over 2400 women aged 20-44 located across the UK, Europe and the US reveals that once reflective of practical needs, it now appears that selling and buying pre-owned is considered the smart way to shop and manage your wardrobe. Over a third of respondents aged 20-44 stated that they were more interested in pre-owned fashion now versus five years ago with almost 30% of British women admitting that they purchase more pre-owned fashion pieces online now. Women who shopped pre-owned had an average of twelve pre-owned pieces in their wardrobe, clothing proved to be the most popular pre-owned purchase with bags a close second followed by shoes and accessories.

What has driven the increased interest in pre-owned over the last five years?

An increased demand for value for money: The change in the global economic situation over the last five years has driven a demand for ‘good ‘deals’ with consumers often expecting more for their money. Over 55% cited value for money as a reason for shopping pre-owned whilst a substantial 76% of total respondents admitted that they buy most of their clothes on sale or after a price reduction has been applied.

Raised interest in sustainability and quality clothing versus throw-away fashion:  A third of respondents stated that they now prefer to buy quality items that will stand the test of time. Pre-owned also offers many consumers a chance to buy into luxury labels, 53% said pre-owned gave them access to aspirational luxury products they would otherwise not be able to afford

The rise of the savvy consumer:  45% of British women polled thought that buying with the intent to resell was a good idea and a smart way to shop. 67% said they sold to make a bit of extra money whilst 24% said it was because they wanted to renew their wardrobe on a regular basis.

Technology and innovation: New technology and the emergence of an array of slick new marketplace websites has changed the perception of pre-owned and opened up the market to a global customer.

Increased interest in individual style: Rather than adopting popular trends women are increasing looking for more individual ways to express themselves through clothing and accessories, this has driven an increase in the popularity of pre-owned where there is often only one of each item available. 48% of British women polled said they shopped pre-owned to pick up rare, unique or difficult to find pieces.

The rise of collaborative consumption: Consumers have become increasing confident in buying, selling and sharing with each other as innovative collaborative business models change what and how people consume. Over one out of two people have participated in a collaborative consumer experience.

The study was conducted with 2,457 women between 20 and 44 years old who have already bought fashion items online. (France: 637 interviews, Germany: 527 interviews, Great Britain: 646 interviews, US: 647 interviews).

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