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Millennials Prefer Resale Shopping Over Fast Fashion

APRIL 17, 2018 Millennial Marketing Insight from HypeLife Brands: "Millennials Prefer Resale Shopping Over Fast Fashion"

Millennials Drive Growth for Secondhand Stores

Over the past few years, there has been a substantial growth in resale stores adding serious competition for fast fashion. Especially when it comes to vying for the Millennial Shopper's attention. Based on a study from ThredUp, they noted in their annual report that the resale market is not just increasing but scheduled to surpass fast fashion by 2027 (ThredUp is a large online resale site for apparel).

It may be surprising to see that thrift shopping could outsell popular fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M, but the numbers don’t lie. Per ThredUp, it is predicted that the resale market will grow from $20 billion to $41 billion in 2022. This correlates with an increase in the percentage of resale clothing found in a Millennial's closet over fast fashion retail.

The transformation in clothing preferences suggests that the Millennials closet will eventually look very different from the closet of the past. It will be more representative of the Millennial shopper’s personal identity and not a copy of what is on trend.

Motivation Behind Millennials Shopping Resale

Secondhand shopping is no longer just for hipsters, but the mass population as well.

Since the recession in 2008, Millennials have been driven to shop for bargains and fashion that is cost-conscious. Resale apparel provides the Millennial shopper with designer goods but at reduced prices.

This has enabled Millennials to live a more sustainable lifestyle by purchasing previously worn clothing. Millennial shoppers prefer purchasing brands that are environmentally conscious in their manufacturing and that take a stance on environmental issues.

Shopping for resale clothing is a step in the right direction to diminish the negative impact fast fashion can have on the environment. Millennials are choosing to recycle, and to wear pre-worn clothing to reduce the negative impact on the world.

Millennials Look for Experiential Shopping with Resale

Online resale startups such as Depop, ThredUp, and TheRealReal are beginning to open physical retail spaces to cater to Millennials that are looking for a real shopping experience. Resale shopping tends to be a more intimate experience compared to fast fashion, as it supports and relies on the local community through the purchase and trade of pre-owned items. You never know what you're going to find when you walk in to a resale shop, and what you do find always has a history to it, adding levels of intrigue and excitement to the shopping experience.

To date, The Buffalo Exchange, a secondhand clothing store with 49 locations across the U.S., has no online presence, limiting its revenue to physical outlets only. Even without the online presence, physical resale stores like Buffalo Exchange or Beacon’s Closet are seeing incremental growth in revenue year after year as fashion resale grows in popularity.

Although it may be easier for Millennials to shop online in general, the Millennial shopper prefers to purchase pre-owned clothing from a physical resale shop for a number of reasons:
  • Online shopping can’t provide the overall experience of finding that unique piece of clothing to showcase one’s individuality;
  • Shopping for resale clothing in person provides a unique real-life experience that can’t be found online (or in fast fashion in general);
  • Resale stores help to support and create a sense of community within an actual local physical community, which provides a much different experience than from an online social community;
  • Millennials are very mindful of living sustainably, and recycling clothing is an excellent exercise in living sustainably.
When the Millennial shopper sets out to browse their local resale shops, they are not seeking one specific piece of clothing but rather want a community-based activity that is about more than just buying merchandise. Many new resale shops understand how essential this concept is for their future growth in the industry, and this is exactly why we will see the resale market grow so substantially in the next few years.