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“Second-hand” is no longer a dirty word, especially you are between the ages of 15 and 35 and are desperately concerned about the environmental consequences of and out-of-control consumer society.

According to Jonathan Kendall, writing in the recently CIBJO Marketing & Education Special report, one in three members of Generation Z are expected to buy second-hand clothes, shoes or accessories, which is some 46 percent up from the amount reported in 2017. Demand for second-hand, driven by Generation Z, is expected to push the resale sector globally to $51 billion by 2023.

“So, what is the appeal of second-hand?” Mr. Kendall writes. “The answer is simple. It’s considered a sustainable way to keep up with trends. Climate change looms in their minds and they want to buy products that lessen environmental impact.”

Almost 70 percent of people in this generation consider sustainability to be an important factor in making a purchase. Eco-friendly products and brands are booming, and second-hand makes sense, because it involves reusing a product that otherwise may have been thrown away. It is estimated that we would save 2.6 billion kilograms of carbon emissions, 95 billion gallons of water and 204 million kilograms of waste if everyone bought one used item instead of an equivalent new product this year, Kendall notes in the report.


The luxury product market is sitting up an taking notice. According to a study by the resale platform Vestiaire Collective and the Boston Consulting Group, resale creates an opportunity for luxury brands to connect with consumer groups that may have previously been out of reach. 

The Vestaire-BCG survey indicated that 71 percent of customers were purchasing items they could not afford to buy firsthand, with more than 60 percent of them saying they were buying from that brand for the first time. 

But once bitten by the luxury brand bug they were hungry for more, with a majority saying that they then would buy from that brand again.

“The secondhand market prolongs the life of luxury products,” stating Olivier Abtan, BCG’s global luxury sector worldwide. “Most of what is sold on luxury secondhand platforms is high quality, with 62 percent of the clothes either unworn or hardly worn. Brands wishing to be more eco-friendly benefit from this circular luxury economy.”

BCG and Vestiaire Collective also highlighted potential of the second-hand market as a way for luxury brands to showcase their support for sustainability initiatives.


According to BCG data, the resale luxury market is forecast to grow from $25 billion in 2018 to $36 billion in 2021, which it will account for 9 percent of the total luxury market. 

 The jewelry industry, which unlike clothing produces products that do not degrade or deteriorate with time, needs to get in on the act.

“Reusing should be a strong part of a jeweler’s offering,” wrote Jonathan Kendall in the CIBJO special report. “Today its more pawn mentally but the future must be so much more…a way to save the planet. We should be reworking old jewelry to produce the most exquisite new pieces.” 

“This is no longer about the cheap looking second-hand pawnshop,” Kendall continued. “This is about a proud new marketing message from leading jewelers, stating many of their products benefit from incorporating second-hand elements to design fabulous new pieces.”