Are you ready to discover the game-changing trend that’s shaking up the fashion industry? The rise of online platforms for buying and selling second-hand clothing has taken the world by storm, and we’re here to uncover the reasons behind its skyrocketing success. 


Gone are the days of digging through dusty racks at flea markets and brick-and-mortar stores. The virtual world now offers endless opportunities for fashion enthusiasts to build a unique, sustainable wardrobe without breaking the bank. From the early days of Ebay to the emergence of specialized platforms like Depop and Vinted, the second-hand clothing market has never been hotter. 


But the trend doesn’t stop there. Big names in fast fashion like Zalando and Asos have also jumped on the bandwagon, offering their own ad hoc sections for pre-loved products. 


So, what motivates consumers to choose between Marketplace platforms and Brand Owner platforms? Our ad hoc research, representative of the Italian population by gender, age, and geographic area, delves into consumer attitudes and market positioning. Get ready to uncover the fascinating insights behind this fashion phenomenon. 


The consumer 

Our data shows that a staggering 25% of respondents buy used clothes more than once a month, with Millennials making up 33% of this group. The trend shows no sign of slowing down either, with 45% of respondents reporting an increase in second-hand purchases compared to last year. 

But what exactly are people buying? Our data shows that bags are the most popular item, making up 45% of purchases, followed closely by jackets and coats (38%) and sweatshirts (35%). Interestingly, young adults (18-34 years) prefer to buy dresses (42%) while seniors (55-65 years) opt for bags (53%). 



Motivations for buying second-hand clothes on online platforms vary by age group. For 18-34 year olds, expressing their personal style and making an environmentally responsible choice are key drivers. They’re passionate about self-expression and sustainability, making them the SELF-EXPRESSION ORIENTED segment. In contrast, the 35-44 year old group enjoys the process of putting together unique outfits and supporting good causes, earning them the FUN AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE label. Finally, the 45-65 year old group are all about bargains and savings, with access to higher quality or luxury items at a lower price being the top priority. They’re the BARGAIN HUNTERS of the bunch. 



Awareness, consideration, usership 

In our examination of brand awareness, consideration, and usership, we delved into the top players in the Italian market for the Marketplace platforms category (which consists of stores where a third party sells, for example Wallapop, Vinted and and Brand Owner platforms (where the brand itself initiates the reselling of its own secondhand products). Despite being fewer in number, Brand Owner platforms boast an impressive 43% brand awareness, even though they cannot compete with the dominant and established players in the Marketplace category. This holds true for consideration and usership as well, as Marketplace platforms command a significant market share and high values. However, it’s important to note that the tide may turn in the coming years as more brands are motivated by consumer demand and the climate change emergency to launch similar initiatives and gain recognition and consideration. Unlike many Marketplace platforms, Brand Owner platforms take the lead in ensuring product quality, which could give them a competitive edge in the long run. 


Brand Image Attributes

Upon analyzing the image attributes of Marketplace platforms versus Brand Owner platforms, we can observe that the former are widely viewed as more Affordable, with a 5% edge, and Youthful, with a 2% edge. On the other hand, Brand Owner platforms are perceived as being somewhat more Secure than Marketplace platforms. Both types of platforms are perceived as equally Reliable, Innovative, and Ethical. Interestingly, Marketplace platforms are perceived to be of lower quality than Brand Owner platforms on average. These findings align with people’s overall perception of these platforms. Safety is becoming an increasingly serious concern for Marketplace platforms, which have historically provided less protection for consumers. The perception of lower quality on Marketplace platforms can be attributed to the fact that the seller is a third party, and there is no guarantee that the product that arrives in the mail matches the ad and does not have more damage than described in the product description. 


Bottom line is the rise of online platforms for buying and selling second-hand clothing has revolutionized the fashion industry, offering sustainable and affordable options to consumers. While Marketplace platforms currently dominate the market, Brand Owner platforms are gaining traction due to their emphasis on quality and security. As more brands enter the market, and as these platforms adapt to the changing needs of consumers, we can expect this trend to continue and evolve in exciting ways.