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Is inflation driving fashion resale?

By FashionUnited



Resale-collectie bij Zeeman. Credit: Zeeman

The state of inflation in the U.S. and globally is at an interesting place. Strikes recently swept Britain as soaring inflation, but at the same time, U.S. manufacturing growth has steadied as a sign inflation pressure is easing. Congress also passed the Inflation Reduction Act to help ease inflation domestically in the United States. The effects of Congressional legislation are never an overnight effect, so consumers are still taking a cautious approach to the state of inflation.

With consumers super conscious about their wallets, disposable income for things like clothes, dining out, and travel is much tighter. Still, people like to eat, go places, and dress well, so they don’t want to forsake these things entirely. This is bargain consumers' time to shine, as few things are more valuable right now than a good deal.

Consumers tighter wallets are driving the resale economy

With consumers looking for affordable ways to buy new clothes, fashion resale is doing better than ever. The global fashion resale market is currently predicted to grow by 127 percent by 2026, three times faster than the broader retail clothing sector. Brands are also launching their own resale shops, seeing revenue increase by triple digits in some cases. Resale has even been heralded as “fashion’s most important growing sector” by Glamour.

Inflation is driving much of this resale boom. New clothes are not only a want, but often a need, as nothing has an eternal shelf life. On the other end of things, getting into resale is a way to help people supplement their income. If there are old things in your closet you aren’t wearing, especially if there are any brand name or designer pieces, they can net you some supplementary income.

After the pandemic, consumers also became more conscious about their purchases and their effect on the environment. Resale and participating in the circular economy are two of the easiest ways to reduce the environmental impact of fashion.

Companies, like Levi’s and Wrangler, have added vintage and pre-owned products to their offerings. Sites like The RealReal, ThredUp, and Grailed are all also thriving. With the rise of prices and supply chain issues even limiting what brands can offer, resale is also imperative to the retail economy.

Price is now considered the superseding factor in why consumers shop for resale in the first place. If educating consumers about the need for sustainable fashion wasn’t going to get them to listen, increasing costs in food and rent certainly did.

Some might be using resale as an excuse to shop more, and retailers are loving it. More brands are experimenting with running their own resale. The goal of companies operating their own resale is to increase their profit margins. It’s too early to tell how this is working in the long term, but resale doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.

High prices and inflation might level off, but a generation of value-conscious consumers has been created. In a survey, FloorFound found 51 percent of consumers cited sustainability as one of the reasons to buy used products. As consumers want to save more and are becoming more conscious about the environment, resale only stands to grow.