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August 25, 2021

Sustainability fuelling APAC apparel resale and rental growth

The resale and the rental models are two different ways to achieve a circular economy. However, resale has gained more traction than the rental model in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region recently due to a slew of investments and luxury brand partnerships.

By Beth Wright

Emphasising the importance of circular economy and sustainability in the retail business, 39% and 29% of the APAC shoppers state that they are buying second-hand clothing and footwear items respectively, showing rental and resale is gaining traction.

Meanwhile, the same survey found 16% are opting for rented clothing and 13% for rented footwear. The figures are from GlobalData’s Q2 global consumer survey of 6,000 APAC consumers, aged 16-plus which was conducted in early May.

The study also found 27% and 20% of consumers will continue to purchase second-hand/pre-loved clothing and footwear items respectively over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 15% and 13% intend to choose rental options for purchasing clothing and footwear items respectively.

“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,” says Ankita Roy, retail analyst at GlobalData. “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.”

Clothing is the most popular rental and resale category followed by accessories and footwear in the APAC region. GlobalData’s survey reveals 12%, 11% and 10% of shoppers are purchasing second-hand clothing, accessories and footwear items respectively more often than usual.

Roy concludes: “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. Similarly, in India, the resale market which is cheap and sustainable is also a growing trend although 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.”

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