With consumers facing a cost-of-living crisis and need to save money, alongside a growing desire and preference to shop more sustainably and responsibly, the perfect solution co-exists to meet both – the resale market, which has already began to thrive in the face of adversity.

There is no time like the present for retailers to adapt and diversify to meet their consumers changing agendas, when it comes to cost and value as well as sustainable credentials. And investing resources into resale to embrace pre-loved is one way of doing so.

Over the past couple of years retailers have faced many challenges presented by the likes of a worldwide pandemic, supply chain disruptions, new ways of working, climate and environmental crisis and now record high inflation increasing the cost of living. Households and businesses are facing the biggest fall in living standards since the 1950s, with annual incomes plunging by 3.1% (Guardian, 2022), leaving consumer confidence at an all time low since the 1970s.

It’s therefore no surprise that more consumers than ever are now turning to second hand shopping as they seek more affordable options to make ends meet. In fact 1/5th of customers are buying second hand items in order to save money (Ebay, 2022). Whether its selling on second hand sites to make more money or buying from them as a cheaper alternative as disposable incomes fall. In turn this is minimising their environmental impact and helping the planet.

Clearly the cost of living has already driven some changes in consumer shopping behaviours as they look to shop smarter. Its now up to the retailers to tap into this movement further, and find opportunity in the growing resale market, to offer different shopping options for both the cost and environmentally conscious.

Simon Forster, Ex CEO of Selfridges and Tessiant Senior Industry Advisor said “the growth of the fashion resale market will transform fashion retail. It is here to stay and will be the largest growth sector of the next few years. Growth is forecast to be up 127% by 2026 globally. 60% of young customers are already looking for preowned first. As inflation rises and the cost of living puts more pressure on household budgets, the growth of resale will accelerate dramatically with a further 25% of customers already saying they would now prioritise preloved fashion (Thredup, 2022). A trend in customer behaviour that had its roots in a desire for a more sustainable fashion market will now grow exponentially as living with inflation starts to bite”.

Karen Bendell, Sustainability Consultant and Tessiant Senior Industry Advisor said “over half of us have brought 2nd hand and 80% of us are open to this, there is no longer a stigma, it is sustainable and 2nd hand goods are often almost new. Locally to me, charity shops are refining their offer, Trinity Hospice’s stores could be mistaken for independents and textile recyclers are maximising the value of their stock with their stores before shipping or shredding. The resale market has huge potential, illustrated by many statistics, Statista suggest globally it will double between now and 2026 to over $218 billion. Jumping from a category dominated by charity and online resellers like Depop and Vestaire Collective, to the realisation by brands that owning the customer relationship and reselling items more than once presents untapped opportunity. In 2016, 2 fashion brands were reselling their own products, today there are 130 and a plethora of platforms (resale as a service) helping them optimise this. It is early days and profit streams are less clear but as it develops, I’m sure the economics will improve. We all understand the longer an item is in circulation, the lower its carbon footprint. This is an obvious way for brands to demonstrate the quality of their designs and continue to engage with consumers as all of us become influenced by inflation and price rises. I do believe resale is a very exciting space and on to engage with sooner rather than later.

We have already seen some retailers take the plunge and make their moves within this space.. Take Marks and Spencers, they are aware that parents are starting to think about going back to school in September, and have thought about how they can address their need for value. They have recently partnered with peer to peer kids wear resale platform to resell M&S products like school wear for less, and in return for an M&S money off voucher. Whilst at the same time striving to innovate their school wear lines to make it even better quality and more durable so it is fit for purpose as a hand me down.

John Lewis and IKEA have also launched schemes for consumers to be able to sell on their used furniture. As well as fast fashion giant Pretty Little Thing looking to do their bit and address changing consumer needs and agendas, through launching a second-hand clothing marketplace this year (2022).

And its not just retailers promoting the resale market and making the leap in this area, encouraging and promoting cheaper and more sustainable alternatives for consumers. ITV partnered with Ebay this year on hit reality tv show Love Island, using them as a sponsor to provide clothes for their contestants to wear on the show, switching it up from previous years where they used fast fashion retailers.

Looking to transform your retail operations? Need help from industry experts like Simon and Karen, to set out a strategy that meets the needs of a cost and environmentally conscious consumer? Look no further, we are here to solve problems alongside you, using theoretical synopsis plus practical, real world experience. Get in touch with a member of our team today here.