The information that Depop – one in all Gen-Z’s favourite apps for purchasing and promoting used clothes – had been sold to Etsy for $1.6 billion is a warning shot for trend retailers. For years, conventional retailers and “quick trend” firms have moved too slowly on the sustainability entrance. Etsy’s acquisition of Depop exhibits that consumers, led by an eco-conscious Technology Z, are taking issues into their very own arms, and it has business enchantment.
The style business has been sluggish to combine sustainability-centric practices into manufacturing and retailing, thereby, leaving a gap for disruptive new redistribution fashions to fulfil client preferences. In 2020, new customers of Depop elevated by 163 % from the earlier yr, with a 200 percent growth in traffic and a 300 percent increase of sales. Its immense recognition is a mirrored image of the success of sustainable redistribution markets, notably amongst youthful customers.
Trend for an eco-conscious cohort
The rise of Depop and different consumer-to-consumer trend redistribution platforms and apps, together with Vinted and Vestiaire Collective, illustrate the draw of the circular economy – taking advantage of assets already in circulation and the usually more-affordable costs that come together with that. That is particularly interesting to youthful customers who’re extra concerned about sustainability, local weather change, and the way forward for the planet.
This technology has additionally been fast to undertake different sustainable life selections, like vegan diets. In distinction to the style business, meals suppliers from grocery shops to KFC have responded to this demand with increased availability of plant-based food products. Participation within the round financial system is an illustration of customers adopting duty for post-consumption behaviors and actively creating alternatives for different customers to undertake extra sustainable trend practices, with the additional advantage of an earnings for people who take part within the round financial system by promoting their undesirable wares.
One good thing about Depop is the accessibility of the app. Gen-Z are a cohort which have grown up with digital technology, and apps are a well-known house for socializing, sharing, and accessing info and consumption. Moreover, the lack to go to the excessive avenue and brick-and-mortar shops, extra usually, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic pressured most consumption on-line. As a rising quantity of customers have grown used to having their trend delivered, there isn’t a drawback to them in buying via Depop.
On the similar time, whereas customers might need to purchase extra sustainable clothes, there are lots of established barriers, reminiscent of greater pricing, lack of trend enchantment, lack of understanding, and a bigger misunderstanding of sustainable trend terminology. Past that, customers usually are not ready to sacrifice their sense of self and identification within the identify of sustainability, and that is very true provided that many consumers don’t understand all of the ways in which the fashion industry is unsustainable.
Depop will get round a few of these boundaries by making a market the place Gen-Z customers are each the sellers and the patrons, so the style bought on the app is specifically appealing to them. That is an instance of collaborative consumption, a system which incorporates various various practices to allow commodities for use for longer and by a better variety of individuals. This will embrace redistribution markets, reminiscent of Depop, as a platform for exchanging used clothes, or renting and borrowing garments, reminiscent of is present in a fashion library system.
Retailers should act quick
The style business lags far behind within the sustainability sphere. The low price of quick trend encourages senseless consumption, and consumers have been vocal about calling this out – for instance, the social media marketing campaign towards on-line retailer Fairly Little Factor for selling a dress for 8 cents during a Black Friday sale. Excessive trend equally has well-established shortcomings in its personal labor practices, waste, and so forth. So, what can manufacturers do to handle these issues?
Some manufacturers embrace a sustainable vary constructed from natural or recycled supplies. The issue is that these collections are sometimes restricted to primary gadgets, reminiscent of vests, t-shirts and leggings, and are shrouded in buzzy advertising and marketing babble. And any profit being borne from these initiatives is drastically overshadowed by the accelerated manufacturing of quick trend. Within the quick trend house and past, many retailers intention to handle sustainability by encouraging customers to eliminate undesirable clothes by donation reasonably than deal with sustainability in manufacturing and retailing. Some retailers encourage customers to return undesirable clothes to the shop – in return for a voucher to buy new trend. Nevertheless, the issue of local weather change and scarce assets can’t be solved via extra consumption.
The used clothes market in the UK, as an illustration, isn’t sufficiently buoyant to resell garments donated to shops and charity outlets, which means that a lot of this ends up in developing countries or, within the occasion of Brexit border delays, stuck in warehouses.
On condition that its enterprise is centered on tapping into what customers need, it’s considerably stunning that the style business is so out of contact with client tendencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered social systems and consumption practices, and solidified youthful customers’ sentiment for conscious consumption. This new chapter, mixed with the success of Depop, presents manufacturers with a chance to reconsider their business models. One trend retailer embracing this properly is Cos, a part of the H&M group, which enables customers to purchase and promote used Cos clothes on-line as a part of its “Resell” program at the side of establishes resale web site Reflaunt. And London division retailer Selfridges has opened a everlasting “pre-loved” department, which sees it providing up pre-owned wares in its retailer flagship retailer on Oxford Road in central London in partnership with Vestiaire Collective.
Given the momentum of Gen-Z’s choice for collaborative consumption, my colleagues and I are increasing our analysis to look at engagement on redistribution markets, through apps and bodily occasions, in addition to the potential for renting fashion. We will even look at whether or not youthful customers understand a lack of authenticity in Depop being bought by Etsy, as when L’Oreal bought the Body Shop. Will probably be attention-grabbing to see whether or not the change in possession impacts the business actions of Depop.
It’s clear from Etsy’s buy of Depop that there’s business enchantment for extra sustainable trend. As various digital platforms for trend develop in recognition, the style business wants to alter – and quick – if it desires to remain related.
Elaine L. Ritch is a Senior Lecturer in Advertising at Glasgow Caledonian College. (This text was initially revealed by The Dialog.)