Why should every fashion and lifestyle brand consider recommerce?

Why should every fashion and lifestyle brand consider recommerce?

16 May 2023  |  Circularity

Ten years ago, it was almost unthinkable that recommerce would be at the forefront for fashion and lifestyle brands. However, there are now major market forces at play, influencing brands to look at extending the life of their products through adopting a recommerce strategy. We take a look at four areas of influence - sustainability, customers, market growth and legislation.


More and more consumers want fashion and lifestyle brands to become more sustainable. They demand that brands reduce their negative impact on the environment or even make that impact a positive one. They want solutions to the 5.8 million tons of textiles that are thrown away by European consumers every year - three-quarters of which are being dumped.[1] To find out more about this, please refer to the "Is your brand ready for mandatory textile circularity?" whitepaper .

Moreover, people have become more concerned about how clothing is produced. Now, more than ever before, people are deciding where to buy fashion based on sustainability, with 67% of fashion consumers considering the use of sustainable materials to be an important purchasing factor and 63% a brand's promotion of sustainability in the same way.[2] Consumers are increasingly favouring sustainable brands and switching to those that respect ethical and social values. Those consumers who are concerned about sustainability issues are even willing to spend 15% more on sustainable options.[3]

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Brands that take responsibility find that they are reaching an audience. The Danish affordable luxury brand GANNI is one of them. GANNI chose Bleckmann as its logistics partner for all its operations in Europe and sustainability and responsibility are the guiding principles in this new partnership.[4]

Recommerce is a clear, solution-oriented answer to the ever-growing group of consumers who want to live and buy more sustainably. The reselling of an item addresses two environmental impact problems - the first is being able to generate revenue from existing products and the second is extending product life. The goal of both is to reduce overproducing and using new raw materials.

Consumers themselves are changing their behaviour - they are not only turning towards sustainable products, but are also increasingly buying second-hand. In this way, they are effectively changing their purchasing behaviour to reduce their carbon footprint. Considering that the maximum lifespan of a fashion item is four to five years, each individual generates an average of 90 to 100 tons of waste in their lifetime.  

Customers are also gravitating towards second-hand options because they help a growing group of consumers tap into a unique style. Finding a style is one of the primary motivating factors why consumers buy second-hand and crafting an outward expression via clothes has never been easier. The wide variety of brands and styles on the second-hand market allows customers to tap into decades of different styles, colours and seasons to select what speaks to them. Brands that become active in recommerce increase their ability to offer more items to more customers.

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Whether it's for style reasons or a response to the environmental threat to our planet, the recommerce market is growing and cannot be ignored. The second-hand market accounted for USD 96 billion worldwide in 2021 and rose by more than 20 per cent to USD 119 billion a year later. Significant further growth is likely in the coming years, with the market expected to be valued by as much as USD 218 billion by 2026.[6] The second-hand market is therefore anticipated to double within five years.

Researchers calculated that the share of second-hand clothing in people's wardrobes will rise to about 27 per cent in 2023.  



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Those who do not launch recommerce activities are therefore missing out on a promising market. Researchers expect sales of USD 51 billion in this resale market by 2026.

Brands must respond to changing consumer behaviour and accept that with improvements in awareness, convenience and demand, resale is here to stay.

European and national legislation is increasingly pushing companies to promote circularity. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) directive from the European Union is a key development as it will provide the most radical and far-reaching legislation for the textile sector.

The EPR directive will require textile companies to sort and prepare clothing before recycling, pay disposal or recycling fees, and set up deposit and take-back schemes. This is currently already in place in France, with five other countries aiming to implement EPR in the next two years. Those brands who want to wait and see or don't think recommerce is a good fit for them or their customers will have no choice. This is because brands will be responsible for the products they make throughout their entire lifecycle. To find out more about this, please read our "Is your brand ready for mandatory textile circularity?" whitepaper.

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[1] https://ec.europa.eu/research-....

[2] https://www.mckinsey.com/indus...

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/indus...

[4] Press release: Ganni chose Bleckmann as the new logistics partner

[5] https://www.statista.com/stati...

[6] https://www.statista.com/stati...

[7] https://www.statista.com/stati...

[8] https://www.bcg.com/publicatio...

[9] https://www.bcg.com/publicatio...

[10] https://www.statista.com/stati...


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