As COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference ended, the fashion industry, one of the major polluting industries in the world, is facing a growing pressure to take further and concrete steps to tackle the climate crisis.
Pledge is a first step. If most of the brands and designers have long-term ambitions and plan of action for a more sustainable future, they need the support of policymakers to facilitate their implementations.
Meanwhile, the circular economy is getting more and more popular among consumers and brands are jumping on the bandwagon. Through upcycling programmes and resale partnerships with platforms such as Reflaunt, brands are reaching new customers and building on their reputation by responding to the public demand for sustainability.
From a consumer’s perspective, the other benefit of buying second-hand is obviously cost saving. Buying second-hand items allows consumers to get clothes, fashion accessories, toys and furniture at a fraction of the original price at a time where even employed people are holding back on spending amid economic uncertainty. In a survey by Carousell, 76 percent of respondents cited monetary benefits to be their main motivation to buy and sell second-hand items.
Asian consumers who used to be reluctant when it comes to resale, have changed their mindset. Emphasising the importance of the circular economy and sustainability in retail business, 39 percent and 29 percent of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) shoppers state that they are buying second-hand clothing and footwear items respectively, according to GlobalData. 27 percent and 20 percent of consumers stated that they will continue to purchase second-hand/pre-loved clothing and footwear items respectively over the next 12 months.
The resale trend is popular especially among the younger generation. Gen Z is more likely to have a different view of ownership than previous generations, having grown up in an era of proliferating rental services and resale platforms. It allows them to access brands that would be otherwise unaffordable, staying on top of trends in an affordable way.
“China, the largest apparel retail market in the region has a booming second-hand apparel market as well on the account of Gen Z and millennials being core consumers who love variety in their closets and on their social media pages and can be thrifty in the process of buying,” said Ankita Roy, Retail Analyst at GlobalData.
Therefore the second-hand market, which is not new, is now booming in Asia Pacific. From clothes and accessories to toys and furniture, here are 5 resale platforms to know right now:
Launched by China’s largest online marketplace, Taobao, in 2014, Idle Fish is now China’s largest second-hand trading platform. Hangzhou-headquartered Idle Fish’s registered sellers surpassed 30 million by the end of 2020. Additionally, more than 200 billion items were sold on the platform last year.
China’s re-commerce market will generate over RMB 500 billion (US$77 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) on the app by the end of this year, Idle Fish estimated. Up from RMB 200 billion (US$31 billion) last year.
In 2019, Idle Fish launched a new site for brand-certified stores. Overseeing their own storefronts, brands can cash in on their idle assets — ranging from sample items, seconds, overstock merchandise to recycled or used products — while offering price-conscious consumers access to verified goods.
The app also includes interactive features such as livestreaming, influencer-driven communities and forums, online auctions starting as low as RMB 1 and dedicated channels for finding rare vintage handbags and handmade couture.
Additionally, Idle Fish is also known as a “super app” because it connects people by location: users can find same-city services, including part-time jobs, door-to-door repairs, recycling stations and even leased properties.
Founded in 2012, Singapore-based Carousell is an online consumer-to-consumer marketplace that sells new and used items across Singapore and Malaysia, in addition to several neighbouring Asian markets. Since its debut, Carousell has merged with Telenor Group, parent of online classifieds business, 701Search.
Most recently, Carousell Group formed Carousell Media in February, as a marketing platform for the brands Carousell, Mudah.my, Cho Tot and OneKyat.
Earlier this year, Forbes reported that Carousell hopes to “aggressively” expand its auto trading business with a consumer-to-business bidding platform and financial offerings such as auto loans. Its cars business is now Carousell’s largest vertical, contributing a third of the company’s revenue, according to Bloomberg.
In its most recent financial update, Carousell revenues reached some US$16 million for the year 2019, according to Business Times.
Operating across eight markets, the mobile-first marketplace has recorded over 250 million listings and tens of millions of users for the period 2012-2020, according to Forbes.
BRAND OFF is an online store operated by K-Brand Off Co.,Ltd. in Japan which was founded in 1993. In addition to the online store, Brand Off has 26 brick-and-mortar stores across the region.
A Japanese pre-loved luxury company dedicated to pre-owned designer bags, Brandoff stocks classics from Hermes to Prada and everything in between. Their extensive inventory also boasts a selection of jewellery and clothing too. Customers can check online shop items in store and decide to purchase after.
Brand Off also has a wholesale buyer’s site which enables retailers to purchase reliable luxury goods.
Founded in 1996 by Jane & Mark Thompson, Blue Spinach is considered Australia’s premium re-seller of international luxury brand fashion, shoes & accessories. Blue Spinach began as a stand-alone store in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Darlinghurst.
Their consignment model offers a comprehensive end-to-end ‘white glove’ service and is renowned for its attention to product detail centred around both condition and authenticity to provide the very best selection of luxury items for resale.
They back their product authentication process with the use of a powerful AI system, the world’s first and only available on-demand authentication solution: Entrupy.
Last month, David Jones announced the launch of a designer resale platform on its website, in partnership with luxury reseller Blue Spinach.
Founded in 2009 and based in Paris, Vestiaire Collective encompasses a carefully curated catalogue featuring over 3 million brand items from handbags, clothes, shoes, to watches and jewellery, with 550,000 new listings every month.
Vestiaire Collective has offices in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and a tech hub in Berlin.
Last September, Vestiaire Collective announced it achieved B Corp certification, making it the first second-hand fashion platform in the world to achieve this coveted status. Vestiaire Collective also announced a new €178 million (US$210 million) fundraising backed by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Generation Investment Management the same month. The additional funding will provide considerable financial flexibility to Vestiaire Collective, allowing the company to further accelerate towards its long-term strategic objectives.
In addition to these key players, resale platforms specialised in different segments are flourishing in the region such as Retykle (kidswear), Hula (womenswear) and Luxford in Hong Kong, The Fifth Collection (luxury fashion) and Novelship (sneakers) in Singapore, Ragtag in Japan to name just a few.