The secondhand market is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors within the fashion industry and a growing number of famous international retailers are now testing out a resale program where they allow shoppers to sell and buy used items.
NIKE Selling Refurbished Sneakers
This April the famous sportswear giant Nike launched a new initiative to accept gently worn sneakers that are cleaned and resold in selected stores at reduced prices. The shoes are professionally cleaned and sanitized by the company before resale, allowing people to save money and contribute to reducing overall global waste caused by the fashion industry.
The company is currently selling refurbished shoes in eight of its stores across the USA, which will be expanded this month to 15 locations and several more stores will be added by the end of the year.
H&M Expanding its Online Secondhand Platform
Swedish fashion giant H&M Group expanded this year its second-hand retail platform called Sellpy to two new European markets. The platform was first launched in 2015, H&M became the majority stakeholder of the platform and today operates the secondhand website in Sweden, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.
“We see that the awareness and demand from our customers for sustainable fashion is constantly growing and is now probably greater than ever,” stated H&M Germany manager Thorsten Mindermann.
H&M stores also launched trails in recent years to resell vintage clothes and offer party dress rentals. Since 2013 H&M has also offered garment collecting and recycling services throughout all of their stores.
More Retailers Getting into the Secondhand Business
Last year, Levi Strauss & Co. debuted a buyback program for its jeans called SecondHand.
Many other retailers such as Gap, Macy’s, Nordstrom have also entered the secondhand market, by partnering with a used online company ThredUp, to encourage customers to send in used items but also to allow them to thrift for themselves.
Shopping Centers Also Playing their Part
Shopping Centers are also playing their part, last year NEPI Rockcastle in southeast Europe and later BBI Centar in Bosnia launched an Empty Shop within their malls.
The Empty Shop is an empty store where customers could bring in their used cloths which were later donated to the Red Cross. The second ‘Empty Shop’ project in Serbia, organized by Kragujevac Plaza shopping center, collected nearly 3 tonnes of clothing since its opening. It inspired BBI Centar shopping center to recreate a similar shop within their mall to help people in need.
Catering to Generation Z
The latest generation, Generation Z born from 1995 to 2012, is the driving force behind these changes in the retail industry. They are more likely to purchase second-hand clothing than the previous generations, as they live in a culture that is more concerned about environmental issues.
Many fast fashion retail brands have closed down their businesses in the past year due to negative news about their environmental impact, a good example is the closure of the fashion chain Forever 21.
Consumers’ growing concerns over how fast fashion is impacting the environment are leading retailers to dip their toes into the secondhand business or to start many recycling initiatives. If shopping centers and retailers want to attract the new generation of consumers, being environmentally friendly is the way to go.