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Second hand: a major consumer trend and an opportunity for brands

Much more than just a passing trend, the second hand is a real change in French consumption, and this does not concern all types of products.

Much more than just a passing trend, the second hand is a real change in French consumption:

  • Between 2019 and 2021, the number of second-hand purchases in ready-to-wear jumped by 140%
    (Natixis Payments Observatory)
  • In 2021, 91% of French people have already bought a second-hand property
    (“ReCommerce 2022” study by WPP & GroupM Business Media Science)

A phenomenon that is growing steadily and goes far beyond the framework of the textile to which it is instinctively attached:

  • 71% of French consumers have already purchased second-hand culture & leisure products (books, CDs, DVDs, video games)
    (“ReCommerce 2022” study by WPP & GroupM Business Media Science)
  • 51% of French people are ready to buy a second-hand phone from professionals
    (Recommerce Barometer 2022 & Kantar)

What are the motivations driving this market?

The desire to consume better

At first glance, in opposition to overconsumption, the second hand attracts more responsible consumers:

  • 36% of consumers of second-hand products cite the conviction of having a good behavior for the environment as one of the main reasons for purchase
    (The Cetelem 2022 observatory)
  • 30% of French people interested in reselling their smartphone do so mainly for environmental concerns
    (Recommerce Barometer 2022 & Kantar)

To enhance your personal branding

Second-hand consumption has become a real way to express oneself or even to integrate into a social group.

Every second-hand consumer has a good reason to do so, whether to be at the forefront of fashion, to assert their eco-responsible convictions, to feel unique, this new consumption has evolved into a tool to assert their personal branding.

An insight highlighted in the latest Vestiaire Collective campaign:


But above all an economic advantage

The second hand is also and above all cheaper products. An argument widely acclaimed by consumers.

On the one hand, with the decline in purchasing power, for many French people the second hand is above all a means of saving money. As proof, the first criterion for buying second-hand goods remains the price for 76% of French people (Study “ReCommerce 2022” by GroupM)

On the other hand, it is also an opportunity for many consumers to indulge themselves with products that they would not have been able to buy otherwise. This is particularly the case in the luxury sector since 82% of buyers of second-hand luxury products would not have bought the product new (Luxe & Second Hand Study by CMI Media).

And these are also pragmatic arguments that motivate second-hand resale (L’observatoire Cetelem 2022):

  • 39% of second-hand sellers do it mainly to make extra income
  • 39% of second-hand sellers also cite the desire to make room at home
  • Where only 23% mentioned ecological reasons

The economic advantage even cannibalizes the ecological advantage in the eyes of consumers. The Cetelem 2022 observatory showed that 75% of French people have the feeling of spending less with the circular economy but 42% have the feeling of buying more with this new consumption.

A paradigm well understood by pure players such as Vinted and Back Market, which communicates very little about the eco-responsibility of second-hand goods.


Vinted: “You’re not wearing it? Sell it! »

The brand plays completely on the ambiguity between guiltlessness and the pleasure of shopping: you sell your sleeping clothes to make room and money. Thanks to that we have money and room to buy others.


Back Market: “New is Old”

Back Market does not seek to conquer the green soul that slumbers in us but rather the thrifty. For Back Market, the revolution is not to consume less or better, but rather to pay the “fair” price.



How can brands adapt to this new consumption model?

Creation of dedicated services

Like Decathlon, which provides advice, information and sets up Trocathlon throughout France, brands can create dedicated services: recovery of old products, creation of events, awareness content and advice, etc.

Integration of a second-hand offer into the initial offer

To go further, brands can integrate second-hand offers directly into their initial offer. As a simple diversification of the offer. Whether on the brand’s e-commerce site, as Zalando, Diesel and Sandro do in particular, or with dedicated corners at points of sale, as Kiabi does.



Creation of a proprietary brand

Like La Redoute, which created La Reboucle, brands can go even further by directly creating a brand dedicated to the second-hand offer.


Why should brands invest in the second-hand market?

First for a business issue

Whether at the point of sale or online, the second hand is a value-added service that customers are looking for. This is why a second-hand offer can be a real vector of traffic.

Camaïeu, for example, relies on its Come-Back service to generate traffic at the point of sale.


The creation of a second-hand offer also allows brands not to simply lose customers. The brands have understood this very strategic issue since they all offer to recover the money in the form of a voucher.



Then, for an image issue

Investing in the second hand can be an opportunity to “prove” the quality of its products and transmit a brand DNA. As the examples of Cyrillus and Petit Bateau show us:



The Second History brand created by Cyrillus supports the identity of the brand, which positions itself as a transmitter of heritage.

By investing in the second-hand market, Petit Bateau nurtures the perception of quality that the brand wishes to convey.

Alongside this, the second hand also makes it possible to retransmit an image of eco-responsibility dear to the French:

  • 90% of consumers expect brands to engage or help them to consume better
    (2020 OpinionWay survey)
  • 82% of French people believe that a brand’s investment in the second-hand market demonstrates its commitment to the environment
    (The Cetelem 2022 observatory)


What to remember about the second-hand consumption trend and the opportunities for brands:

  • The second hand now occupies a significant place in global consumption.
  • The motivations on this market are multiple: Responsible consumption, economic advantages, pleasure of unearthing the rare pearl, …
  • Before embarking on second-hand, brands will have to define not only their ambitions but also their target to understand what motivation to activate.
  • Strategic reflections for a market that can both generate business and transmit a strong brand image.

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