Online sales. The second-hand clothing boom

In full development, the online purchase of second-hand clothing has aged the thrift stores and is a responsible way to consume, its promoters also seeing it as a promising source of growth.

According to the economic observatory of the French Federation of Women’s Ready-to-Wear (FFPAPF), the second-hand market is estimated at €1 billion in 2018 in France, with one-third of consumers claiming to have bought second-hand clothing on the Internet. For Éléonore, 31, at Le Smic, “buying cheaper” was the primary motivation for her arrival on the specialized application Vinted. “I am also in a process of consuming less: we pile up too many things and it clutters the mind,” confides this educational assistant before concluding:”Moreover, it’s not ecological.

For Cédric Rossi, analyst at Bryan, Garnier & Co, “we can certainly highlight the ecological motivation” to explain the development of this market, but what has contributed most to it is artificial intelligence, digital technology”.which has made it possible to facilitate business ” peer to peer “, the one that connects a consumer and another consumer “, via applications for smartphones, and the growth of logistics players such as Mondial Relay.

second hand clothes

Running your wardrobe

Beyond these data, two major trends have led to the emergence of this new market. The first, explains Cédric Rossi, “is that households have switched their spending” to less textiles, around 4% of their disposable income compared to 8-9% in the 1960s. The other being that the “millenials” (17-35 year olds) are “less attached to home ownership” than their elders.

Moreover, if in the past clothes were bought in order to keep them for a long time, today it is much more common to “rotate” your wardrobe. Today, a garment is still sold every 20 seconds on the auction site.

Consumers also turn to LeBonCoin, and its subsidiary Videdressing for luxury, and especially Vinted, which claims 21 million members in ten countries. Created in Lithuania in 2008 by two friends, the Vinted application had reached a critical point in the summer of 2016, “losing customers and a lot of money”, when its current CEO, the Dutchman Thomas Plantenga, was called upon to turn the company around: “We have centralized our organization in Vilnius (Lithuania) and Berlin (Germany), closed all other offices, changed our business model by making it totally free for sellers and invested in marketing and advertising. And it works: in 2018, its business volume exceeded one billion euros and its overall annual growth reached 300%!

No decrease in donations to Secours Populaire

Despite the success of the online sale of second-hand clothing, Secours Populaire is not currently recording a decrease in clothing donations. “We mainly felt a decline about ten years ago, when people started selling more and more of their clothes at yard sales, a phenomenon that has become more pronounced over the years. Today, 80% of the items sold at garage sales are clothing,” says Christian Causse, national director of events and sharing at Secours populaire.

Christian Causse would like to point out that Secours populaire also receives new clothing from the destocking of several brands. “Why shouldn’t the most vulnerable people have access to new clothes? “, asks the manager, who adds: “At Secours populaire, we are mainly looking for baby clothes, which are rarely used and can therefore be more easily sold on websites and in fleas.