Female Shoppers Are Getting More Comfortable with Secondhand Fashion

Many are drawn to luxury goods that come with affordable price tags

More women are turning to resale sites, including The RealReal and Poshmark, as they continue to compare deals and make more of an effort to spend less.

According to September 2019 data from daVinci Payments, formerly known as Swift Prepaid Solutions, more than half (52%) of females surveyed said they purchased from resale sites, primarily buying designer clothes and accessories.

“People want luxury goods,” eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman said. “It may be out of reach for certain people; they just don't want to spend that much on clothing. And resale is really fundamentally shifting the value equation in a lot of respects.

“One, if you take a $1,000 luxury item, and you can actually get that same thing gently used for $500, it brings more people into that market. But then also, they can sell it on the back end. So if you say, ‘I can buy this for $500, but then maybe I can sell it in a couple of years for $300 or $250,’ that value equation is very different. Now I get that taste of luxury at a much more affordable cost. So I think that's the big driver.”

Discounted designer goods—and clothing in general—are a big draw for many female shoppers, but so are other product categories. Of the 52% of respondents who said they bought from resale sites, 23.0% purchased secondhand furniture, and 17.6% bought sports and exercise equipment.

By and large, secondhand shopping is on an upswing. “If you think back a decade or two ago, the notion of used or consignment didn't have the same cachet, but now there's a cachet associated with sustainability,” Lipsman said. “It's allowing people to take part in this and feel OK about it—and be able to tell their friends.”

Research by CGS conducted in November last year revealed that shoppers were increasingly considering sustainability when making purchases, with more than two-thirds of US internet users naming it as an important factor. And that sentiment is especially true among younger cohorts. According to CGS, this group is more attuned to the ecological impact of their purchases. In fact, roughly 68% of respondents ages 18 to 24 had made an eco-friendly purchase sometime during the previous year.

And expect sustainability to factor into 2019 holiday purchases. “Holiday gift-giving is sentimental in nature, and getting eco-friendly products for sustainability-minded friends and family communicates that you care," Lipsman said. "With that in mind, I’ll be very interested to see how brands like Rothy’s and Everlane—which are leaning heavily into sustainability messaging—end up performing this season.”