Brand new is so old news.
The secondhand retail market has been steadily growing in strength and numbers for years now. Gen Z and Millennials in particular have been feeding the phenomenon, trading brand names and logos for a new status symbol of fiscal and environmental responsibility. In 2019, 40% of Gen Z and 30% of Millennials reported buying used clothing, footwear or accessories – up nearly 25% from 2016. While the two generations may differ in many ways, both are quick to value experiences over items, and social responsibility over materialism. The pre-owned retail scene affords saving dollars for experiences, and the chance to show not only indifference to buying something new, but a preference to adopting something used and giving it a second life – whether it’s a chair or a pair of kicks. And let’s not forget the all-important gram fodder and humble brag such a choice find can provide, to tout their keen, industrious and frugal ways.
COVID-19 has only sent the prevailing pre-owned trend into maximum overdrive. With frugalistas scouring to save a nickel amidst unprecedented economic uncertainty, used apparel brand ThredUp saw a 20% growth in Q2 alone. ThredUp was not only able to leverage the opportunity the secondhand retail market presented, but take full advantage of the seamless, online shopping experience they had already perfected for customers – and in turn, capitalize on the key market demand for contactless retail experiences. Value conscious shoppers have been able to clean out their closets stuck at home, while simultaneously browsing the preowned prairies to their heart’s content.
For retail brands, there are lessons to be learned here. Let’s start by taking a closer look at this new nifty and thrifty shopper. By better understanding their motivators, shopping habits, media consumption and spending habits, brands can better align with what matters most to these shoppers, plus understand how to reach them along their illustrious shopping journey. Next, retail brands need to evaluate their digital ecosystems, making sure the shopping experience is trouble free and adhering to best-in-class practices. Too many retailers are losing choice customers to faulty fulfillment guarantees and rickety return policies, all seen as restrictive and cumbersome.
With the expectations and conscientiousness of shoppers steadily evolving and climbing upon the winds of change, it’s imperative retail brands have a marketing partner that understands the nuances of the changing landscape, as well as providing immediate solutions that speak to the demands of these shoppers. Unbound’s unique and agile agency structure allows us to address the fluid retail horizon, while also providing the strategic prowess and expertise your brand’s marketing and communications need to thrive and deliver.