Retailers must focus on quality control and Gen Z to win in secondhand market, says GlobalData

Consumers are increasingly turning to purchasing secondhand items, mainly driven by a desire to save money, with 72.6% of consumers citing this as a driver in a survey*. This, coupled with a period of high inflation has driven rapid growth in the secondhand market, creating increased competition for secondhand players and a need for retailers to offer their own secondhand platforms to reclaim ownership of the resale process. To stand out in the market, retailers must focus on quality control, appealing to Gen Z, and create innovative ways to attract consumers, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, “Global Shopping Trends: Secondhand”, reveals that spend is restricted by distrust of the quality of products, with 37.9% of global consumers stating that they do not trust the quality of secondhand items.

Sophie Mitchell, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “To perform well in this market, retailers need to address quality concerns through providing authentication services for high-value goods, displaying clear photos of products alongside detailed information or encouraging sellers to do so, and having a robust returns policy that is clearly communicated to consumers.”

In all countries surveyed, Gen Z made up the greatest proportion of consumers who stated they will purchase secondhand items more often in the next three months. This is due to both growing up in a time where concern for the environment is high and needing to save money on items such as furniture, with inflation having impacted real wage growth, mortgage rates, and rent.

Mitchell continues: “Appealing to Gen Z is essential to secondhand retailers’ success. Retailers can do this through strategies such as engaging social media campaigns, and secondhand marketplaces can focus on curated product selections from brands that are popular with Gen Z.”

Mitchell adds: “To continue the market’s momentum, secondhand players must find ways to retain consumer interest such as through pop-ups, curated collections with celebrities, and collaborations such as the ongoing partnership between eBay and the UK reality TV show Love Island that started in 2022.”

* Data is derived from GlobalData’s consumer research undertaken in December 2023 and January 2024, with 1,000 consumers in each of the US, China, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy in December. In the UK, 2,000 consumers were interviewed in January 2024

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