As a knock-on effect of the economic crisis, the market for second-hand clothing has grown considerably in Europe, both for selling and buying, especially in Eastern European countries. Here we take stock of this booming market, now additionally driven by the Internet.
2 out of 3 Europeans buy second-hand goods. The second-hand goods market is unaffected by the crisis – quite the contrary. 6 out of 10 Europeans now sell their belongings, and 2 out of 3 buy second-hand products. 27% of Europeans claim to use this mode of consumption “more than before” as a result of the economic crisis. This is particularly the case for the French (33%), Hungarians (29%), Belgians and Italians (28%) when it comes to reselling goods. For their part, Italians (50%), Hungarians (37%) and Poles (31%) are more active in buying second-hand goods.
More specifically concerning second-hand clothing, the market, once controlled by charity associations, is now dominated by private operators. The main exporters are the US, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Sub-Saharan African countries import the most second-hand clothes, accounting for 25% of the overall market.
A booming business in Eastern Europe. The second-hand clothes market is booming in Eastern European countries. The Reuters news agency indicates that second-hand clothes shops are sprouting like mushrooms in Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary. In Hungary, second-hand clothing imports have doubled in the space of six years to reach an amount equivalent to €56 million. Each week, Hungary’s leading player in this field, Hada, imports between 30 and 40 tonnes of second-hand clothes from Great Britain. Its annual sales presently stand at €32 million.
Niche markets driven by the Internet. A few niche markets have emerged within the second-hand clothing sector, in particular luxury or vintage second-hand clothes with French companies Kiliwatch and Eureka, to say nothing of second-hand clothing for children. In this latter case, we can give a special mention to the French B2B (business to baby) site Patatam, which specialises in selling second-hand children’s clothes. Inspired by its big American brother Thredup, this start-up platform, founded in 2013 in Biarritz, recently won the Rookie of the year prize at the e-commerce Paris event.
Does this activity inspire you, or are you looking for new suppliers and/or customers? Then take a look at Europages to see which companies are present in this promising sector!