Thrift store should pass fast fashion market by 2030 – 06/08/2022 – Mercado


The expressive increase in the prices of clothes, shoes and accessories boosts the second-hand market in Brazil. In the first half of this year alone, demand at thrift stores grew by an average of 30%, and experts say the segment is far from the limit of its potential.

According to US researchers, this market is expected to grow by 15% to 20% per year over the next five years, surpassing the value of the fast fashion sector by 2030.

“I only bought in fast fashion, and my mother said I spent a lot of money. Now, I spend between R$150 and R$300 on pieces that I won’t let go of easily”, says administrative assistant Amanda da Silva, 28.

She started buying from thrift stores during the pandemic, attracted by the lower cost. “It became very expensive to buy clothes,” she says.

Among the used clothes she is proud to have purchased is a jacket from the sports car brand Porsche, purchased for R$110. On the official website, she says, it would cost at least four times as much.

The apparel sector has recorded the highest inflation since 1995. The rise reflects the rise in production costs in the textile industry during the pandemic, which disrupted production chains.

In the 12 months through May, clothing prices increased by 16.08%, according to the IPCA (National Index of Consumer Prices), calculated by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).

It was also because of the pandemic that former teacher Priscilla Borges, 44, entered the seminova fashion market – only to sell her own clothes.

After leaving the classrooms to dedicate herself to the theater, she saw the works disappear with the restrictions imposed to contain the advance of Covid-19.

“I started out selling my clothes in a suitcase. Today, I’m in the garage of my mother’s house and I conquered my financial independence with the thrift store”, he says.

Searching for pieces in bazaars of charities and churches, Borges has pieces with the CGC seal, the CNPJ of the 1980s and 1990s, which guarantees that the item was manufactured more than 20 years ago.

“Buying used parts is already a reality, not a trend. I myself don’t have the courage to shop at a mall anymore”, says the businesswoman.

The Gastão Vidigal Economics Institute of ACSP (São Paulo Commercial Association) projects a 29.6% growth in thrift store sales volume in 2022 and already estimates that the used clothing market may surpass fashion retail in 2024.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen an acceleration of purchases, sales and posts on Enjoei, indicating an evolution in the way people consume fashion items in Brazil and in the world, translated into this growing sales movement in recent years”, says Andreia Cha, marketing director for the online thrift store Enjoei.

For marketing assistant Gabriela Mendonça, 28, buying used clothes is a habit she has had since childhood, when her mother used to go to church bazaars to look for cheaper clothes in the countryside of São Paulo.

Used to spending between R$ 200 and R$ 300 a month in thrift stores, she seeks the “exclusivity of the pieces”, now mined by fashion professionals and offered at prices below retail.

“I don’t buy clothes in stores at all, because everything is the same and expensive. I love vintage pieces, even the quality is superior”, says Gabriela, who also sells clothes to thrift stores frequently.

“I’m living in Holland and, before leaving Brazil, I sold practically my entire wardrobe to raise money. I got around R$ 3,000”, he says.

A survey by BCG (Boston Consulting Group) with almost 3,000 Enjoei customers points to a potential of R$ 24 billion for the semi-new fashion market, in the wake of countries with the most consolidated sector, such as the USA, where the used clothing market represented $36 billion in 2020.

“In the pre-pandemic period, the purchase and sale of used pieces was already growing due to a change in the way consumers relate to clothes in their wardrobes. There is a global concern with sustainability that began to materialize in consumer behavior”, says Flávia Gemignani, responsible for the BCG report.

Sustainability, however, is a secondary issue in Brazil, according to the executive of the global consultancy. Brazilians look for thrift stores for cost-effectiveness: almost 40% of those interviewed in the BCG study are less attuned to fashion and love bargains.

“This profile has no budget to spare, is not attached to environmental causes and has the price as the biggest motivator of purchase”, says the report.

For Gemignani, the recent boom in this sector in Brazil is a reflection of the proliferation of marketplaces, which attracted those who were uncomfortable with the physical experience of a thrift store.

“It’s vintage, it’s trendy. It’s seen as something unique and a lot owes it to digital platforms and social networks.”

Consolidated in the party dress rental segment, Dress & Go launched an ecommerce for the sale of second-hand pieces, to overcome the losses of the pandemic. Without parties and events, the startup had to reinvent itself.

“We closed partnerships with brands, stylists and customers, forming a collection of 20 thousand pieces to sell. From products from Zara, Animale to Dolce & Gabbana. The market potential is huge. Studies indicate that it will grow seven times between 2019 and 2029” , says Mariana Penazzo, co-founder of Dress & Go.

For the businesswoman, every retailer will have to rethink their way of producing due to costs and socio-environmental responsibility. “Partnerships are beneficial for brands, because it is a way to strengthen themselves in ESG.”

This recent move by traditional retailers into the second-hand segment responds to consumer demand, according to BCG. Among respondents, 62% indicate a greater chance of buying a brand if it has a partnership with the used car market.

The used clothing market, however, has not escaped inflation. To ensure quality pieces and competitiveness, thrift stores have readjusted the price on their labels.

“In bazaars we buy the pieces for the value we sold in 2019. There’s no way not to pass on”, says Stheffany Wendy, owner of I Need Brechó, in Pinheiros, west of São Paulo.

Even with a 40% growth in sales this year compared to the same period last year, Elisa Fernandes de Melo, 30, readjusted the values ​​of her subscription club and the cost of shipping.

“Clothes will get more and more expensive because there is a lack of fabric in the market. To survive the pandemic, we anticipated the plan for a private label and made consignments with customers instead of buying pieces at wholesale”, says the owner of Ustyle.

The forecast by Abit (Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association) is that production and sales growth will slow down this year, continuing below pre-pandemic levels.

Friends Ana Caroline Andrade, Adilson Souza and Odair José Barbosa raised the prices of clothes they sell on Sundays on Avenida Paulista, in São Paulo. They bet on consumer concern for the environment and the circular economy for market growth.

“I had an experience with a thrift store in 2018. When I went back to panning, prices were already higher. The difficulty of passing on is finding the person who values ​​the piece”, says Souza. To guarantee a good deal, sellers expect to receive at least four times the amount they paid for the clothes.

Working with thrift stores for 17 years, Cristiane Mendes Seixas, 39, has been following the arrival of new customers and thrift stores over the last two years. “It’s the money issue,” she says.

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