Apparel resale sector growth outpaces rentals in Asia Pacific

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Apparel resale and rental are currently two of the star fashion retail categories among consumers pursuing sustainable lifestyles. 

According to research house GlobalData, thanks to a slew of investments and partnerships with luxury and fast-fashion brands, including one with H&M, resale is winning the race for now, but both solutions have their place in boosting the circular economy. 

Research of Asia-Pacific shoppers by GlobalData shows 39 per cent of consumers in Asia-Pacific are buying second-hand clothing and 29 per cent footwear. That compares with 16 per cent renting clothing and 13 per cent footwear. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumption habits with the consumers being reluctant to spend more on ownership of discretionary products like apparel as income has decreased due to the economic slowdown,” explains Ankita Roy, a retail analyst at GlobalData.

The research found that 27 per cent of consumers who regularly purchase preloved clothing, and 20 per cent buying used footwear, will continue to do so during the coming year, while 15 per cent will continue to rent clothing and 13 per cent footwear. 

“There is uncertainty on how these models will fare in the long run as people are sceptical of using shared services to avoid the risk of transmission of Covid-19 along with constrained finance. However, with the luxury brands collaborating with resale platforms, second-hand items have witnessed a higher participation rate,” says Roy. 

“A growing trend among consumers, especially the younger generation, has been to move away from permanent ownership of old clothing and look for sustainability and affordability fulfilled by rental and resale services. This also enables them to refresh their wardrobes. Hence, clothing remains the most preferred category in the rental and resale market.

“China, the largest apparel retail market in the region has a booming second-hand apparel market as well on the account of Gen Z and millennials being core consumers who love variety in their closets and on their social media pages and can be thrifty in the process of buying.”

Roy says that in India, the resale market – which is cheap and sustainable – is also a growing trend, however, buyers’ confidence remains a key issue in buying used clothes amidst the pandemic. 

“Resellers must resolve the issue of inventory replenishment to cater to consumers’ demands in India. If taken care of these factors, there is a huge long-term growth potential of second-hand and rental models in the region.”

The data on apparel resale and rental was taken from GlobalData’s survey of 6000 Asia-Pacific consumers, aged over 16, earlier this year. 

Main image: Margaret Sha.

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill is a content writer with more than 30 years of experience in five countries. His style has built upon award-winning success in news and features in the print media to leadership in digital communication, spanning news websites, social media, magazines, brochures, and contributing to books. Recognising the devastating impact of consumer behaviour on the planet and wanting to help make a difference Robert launched Viable.Earth as a platform to celebrate positive contributions by brands, companies and individuals towards reducing environmental impact and improve sustainability – especially in the fields of fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, and transportation.


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