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As demand for thrifty fashion grows, eBay hopes a two-pronged strategy will defend its position in the market.

As demand for thrifty fashion grows, eBay hopes a two-pronged strategy will defend its position in the market.


By Sam Bradley. The story was originally published on Glossy's sister publication Digiday.

Faced with growing consumer demand for second-hand fashion, e-commerce platforms that helped create the online thrift economy are scrambling to appeal to specific audience cohorts in hopes of gaining traction .

eBay launched a crackdown on UK sellers last month, slashing fees for selling clothing on the platform to zero in a bid to supplant rivals such as Vinted and Depop, while attracting sellers with a new campaign. brand.

In the United States, the platform also faces ThredUp, Poshmark and TheRealReal. According to Nazia Du Bois, brand and marketing director at eBay UK, the growing demand for digital reselling is the rising tide that lifts all boats.

We want to ensure that the circular economy of fashion is further fueled. Anything we can do to achieve that is a good thing, she added. Its latest campaign, 'Nothing to Wear for Something to Love', was created by marketing agency Dept and encourages fashionistas to shed their old clothes and refresh their wardrobe.

Of course, eBay would like its boat to be a little bigger than its competitors.

Internal eBay data shared with Digiday showed that the number of clothes and shoes with the keyword thrift store in the listing title increased by 400% between March 2023 and March of this year, although a spokesperson declined to share what the reference number of used clothing products was. . But its proposition as the original, largest and most varied market for vintage and second-hand fashion has been under siege in recent years.

In Europe, Vinted has started to gain momentum, reporting a profit for the first time in its history in the first quarter of this year, according to its latest quarterly results. In the United States, ThredUp has not yet taken this step, but its leaders hope to do so within the next twelve months; orders rose 9% in the first quarter and is looking to stand out with investments in AI-based research, according to disclosures to investors.

Vinted and ThredUp have been successful in targeting younger consumers, leveraging social platforms like TikTok or Pinterest to build their presence, said Blair Zimelis, director of consumer strategy at The Marketing Arm, an Omnicom agency specializing in cultural strategy.

She said much of the increase was due to consumer inflation and affordability concerns.

Second-hand clothing makes luxury items accessible, especially as the price of new luxury products continues to rise. Consumers are turning to second-hand clothing to find these items at a lower cost, while still making money on their used items, Zimelis told Digiday.

Du Bois agrees that demand for second-hand clothing has been driven by cost-of-living concerns, although she also cites sustainability concerns. It’s two-pronged, she said. In the UK, the average person has really felt the effects of the cost of living crisis in recent months. And people are more aware of the overall supply chain that underpins their consumption decisions.

Unlike its youth-focused competitors, said Anna Pompilio, cultural strategist for branding agency Marks, eBay is the granddaddy of the second-hand online sales space. And while macroeconomic conditions are favorable, the climate around eBay has changed, she said.

eBay is trying to adapt to this climate; earlier this month, it unveiled a buzzy partnership with the Met Gala intended to capture the attention of fashion-forward Zoomers. Du Bois said that in addition to television and audio channels, it is focusing on paid social and influencer partnerships as well as television, video-on-demand, audio and digital signage, although she refused to share the budget allocated to each channel.

But eBay doesn't just want to refine its fashion credentials to exclude the competition. Clothing is a gateway to purchasing other items on the site, said Du Bois, who cited internal data showing that users who came to the site to buy clothing were more likely to return for more items than users arriving by other routes.

For eBay, 47% of second-hand items sold in the UK were clothing. But ensuring it has a large and comprehensive inventory is essential to stand up to smaller competitors and convert occasional customers into repeat buyers.

Fashion is a very important entry category for us. When people come to eBay to buy fashion, they are more likely to explore other categories as well, from buying a sweater or dress to looking for something around the house and garden or in spare parts and accessories, she said.




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