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3 Ways Brands In WE Are Keeping Up with The Resale Boom

Two women shopping at a secondhand store

The resale economy is growing in Western Europe, and these are three ways brands in the fashion industry are keeping up with the trend…


  • Half of young Europeans buy secondhand / vintage items, which is a tangible way to fight the climate crisis
  • The resale economy is expected to grow more than 15% in the next five years, and many fashion brands are jumping on the boom
  • Brands can choose to start their own platform, create a pre-loved feature, or partner with a specialized resale app to add circular shopping into their offerings

Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe have growing concerns about climate change, and it’s making them re-evaluate their shopping habits. These young consumers want brands to invest more in the three R’s: re-selling, rewearing, and recycling. Fashion brands are especially under the scrutiny of these gens, who are often calling them out for greenwashing. As a result, many fashion brands in Western Europe are taking active steps to be more sustainable.

Taking part in the resale industry is one of the options fashion brands have to become more sustainable. It’s also a financial investment: secondhand clothing is a growing sector, evaluated at $40 billion / year, and expected to grow 15-20% in the next five years. YPulse’s own data from WE Fashion Preferences And Style Report shows that half of young Europeans like to shop for vintage / secondhand clothing, proving that buying pre-loved items is common practice among these consumers. Many fashion brands have embraced the resale trend recently—such as PrettyLittleThing and Clarks—but are using different methods to sell previously worn items. Here are three ways fashion brands can jump on the resale boom:

Image: PrettyLittleThing

1. Starting a new platform / app to resale items

To encourage consumers to buy and sell pre-loved items, brands wanting to enter to venture into the world of secondhand fashion can create their own resale marketplace. Earlier this year, U.K. fast-fashion brand PrettyLittleThing  announced the creation of its own resale marketplace: PLT Marketplace. The app allows young consumers in the U.K. to give their old outfits a new life by reselling them to their peers, and is scheduled to roll out in the U.S. by the end of the year. Allowing consumers to sell their own used clothing is PrettyLittleThing’s response to growing criticism about the brand “fueling throwaway culture”, and the recent backlash over its mother company Boohoo’s recent sustainability ambassador.

Brands starting their own resale platforms are entering a crowded marketplace, where they are directly competing against specialized secondhand platforms such as Depop, and the European favorite Vinted, which are growing in popularity among young consumers in Western Europe. But at the same time, brands creating their own resale platforms could appeal to brand fans looking for them specifically, and can help those consumers feel less guilty about their purchases.

Image: Zara

2. Creating a resale feature in an existing platform / website

Instead of creating a standalone platform, brands wanting to participate in the resale economy can also create a resale feature on their existing mobile app or website. This option has the benefit of allowing consumers to use a platform they are familiar with, instead of requiring them to download yet another app.

The German fast-fashion giant Zalando created the new resale platform named Zircle in 2019 to take part in the resale boom in Western Europe. Zalando recently announced it will close Zircle to focus on the “pre-owned category” on its website / app, showing how difficult it is for brands to maintain a standalone resale platform. Another example of an integrated resale feature is Zara’s recent announcement to create a resale feature: “Zara Pre-Owned.” The feature will be available on Zara’s existing website and mobile app, and shoppers will also be able to use Zara Owned to get their favorite Zara clothes repaired, from broken zips to missing buttons. This move allows the Spanish fast fashion giant to tap into a growing market, while being true to its “commitment to circularity.” Brands-specific resale platforms embedded into the existing ecommerce experience can offer a greener option to current shoppers.

Image: Dr. Martens

3. Partnering with a resale marketplace

Fashion brands wanting to enter the resale economy are also partnering with specialized resale platforms such as Depop, Vinted, and eBay. These resale apps are very popular among young Europeans, and have risen in recent years to become a fashion hubs where these gens turn to for their style inspo. Fashion brands opting to work directly with such resale platforms can instantly reach an increasingly important user base.

Clarks started to work with resale marketplace Dotte to help U.K. parents resell their kids’ used shoes. YPulse’s WE Shopping And Retail Report found that 27% of Millennial parents in the region have sold items on a resale site / app, and they’re even more likely to have done so than non-parents. Dotte is a British resale marketplace that allows parents to buy, sell, and donate their kids’ used wardrobe staples. Thanks to the Clarks x Dotte partnership, parents are now able to list their kids’ used shoes on Dotte, and are rewarded with a 15% discount voucher to spend online on the Clarks website once the purchase goes through.

Dr. Martens also chose the partnership option: earlier this year the brand announced it would partner with Depop to launch “ReSouled,” its own resale marketplace on the platform. After calculating that refurbished and secondhand boots could account for up to 15% of the brand’s sales within the next 10 years, the cult footwear brand decided it was time to launch in the resale economy, and partnering with Depop was the chosen strategy. The scheme allows consumers to sell used boots at around 80% of the retail price, and also offers them the opportunity to have their own boots refurbished.