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  • Millennials and Gen Z: Reshaping our view of resale in the fashion industry

Thanks to the buying behaviour of Millennials and Gen Z, resale in the fashion industry is on the rise. Unlike the generation before them, Gen Z and Millennials are environmentally conscious consumers who want brands to offer them unique, affordable and sustainable clothing. According to a study from Thredup from 2017 to 2019, Millennial and Gen Z second-hand sales increased by 37% and 46% and is expected to double in the next five years.

“Youngsters do not see the differentiation between pre-loved and new. Pre-Loved is seen as cool, unique and sustainable.” Mike Taylor, commercial director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Understanding Gen Z and Millennials preference for re-sale clothing can help brands make their products more appealing to these consumers. Depop, an online platform enables its users to upload pictures of products they own and sell it to other users on the platform. The app currently has over 13 million users who are all under the age of 25. Depop has gained popularity among consumers as it allows them to recycle their items or purchase vintage and unique clothing at a lower price.

“Sustainability used to be seen as a nice-to-have and a fringe trend, but now it’s a core differentiator and a way consumers are deciding between brands,” Lucie Greene, worldwide director of the Innovation Group and JWTIntelligence.com at Wunderman Thompson.

Demand for sustainability and ethical fashion

The demand for sustainability and ethical fashion is on the rise among young consumers. A study from CGS found that 70% of Gen Z and Millennials consider sustainability to be an important factor in their buying process. While some of these consumers choose an eco-friendlier brand, many choose to buy second hand.

Even fast-fashion brands have realised that to meet the changing needs of consumers, they need to incorporate sustainability in their business model. Fast-fashion retailer H&M have adapted their concept to show that they can also be environmental conscious despite being a fast-fashion retailer. One of their concepts is they give consumers a £5 voucher for every bag of unwanted clothes and textiles they recycle at any H&M stores. They also have a sustainability section on their website where shoppers can browse through sustainable clothes and furniture.

Consumers want to be able to constantly change their wardrobe

In addition to being environmentally conscious, Gen Z and Millennials have the desire to constantly change their wardrobe. A study from Drapers (2018)  found that 93% of young consumers say they buy clothing every month – resale allows them to constantly change their wardrobe at an affordable price and also maintain a sustainable impact. In charity shops such as the British Heart Foundation shop and Sue Ryder Foundation, consumers can find items for as little as £2.

Need for uniqueness

Gen Z and Millennials enjoy expressing their personality through the use of fashion. Most of the clothes that these consumers buy from second-hand stores are one of a kind allowing them to express themselves with the uniqueness of their style and again maintain a sustainable impact.

The rise of the need for uniqueness combined with wanting sustainable fashion has led this young consumer to turn to second-hand fashion. This is a trend that won’t be dying down any time soon. What is your brand doing to offer consumers ethical fashion?