A few years ago the lifespan of our clothes was pretty standard. You would buy an item of clothing, hang it in your wardrobe and wear it a number of times before eventually donating it to a charity or throwing it in the bin. But, things are changing quickly. Thanks to technology, the fashion re-commerce market — renting, reselling, thrifting — is exploding.
The fashion resale market has grown 21 times faster than the retail market over the past three years, according to research from retail analytics firm GlobalData. And, according to online thrift store, ThredUP, it’s only going to get bigger. ThredUP predicts that the second-hand fashion market will be worth $64 billion in the next five years.
Re-selling is big business in overseas markets and it’s no different in South Africa. Thanks to technology, online platforms have become the go-to spot for South Africa fashionistas looking to bag stylish pieces on a dime. Online platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook and Yaga, have become powerful tools for re-selling of unworn and second-hand clothing in South Africa.
More and more people are becoming conscious of how they shop and where/ who they shop from. With this said, consumers are making conscious decisions, for financial and environmental purposes by supporting local and using online shopping platforms to buy pre-loved goods.
According to recent research, thrifting and second-hand platforms will reshape the fashion world for future generations. With many businesses moving to the digital space, South Africans are spending more time online than ever before, and the online shopping community continues to grow.
What’s driving this explosive growth?
There are a number of factors driving the growth of re-selling online. Shoppers are looking for better value, and they realise that buying used clothes is the easiest way to save on trendy clothing pieces.
The stigma associated with used clothing is not as strong as it once was and shoppers are loving the idea of getting their hands on trendy, high-end labels at a fraction of the price. People are also more concerned about sustainability than ever before and are opting for second-hand fashion as a way to reduce their carbon footprint.
National lockdowns, thanks to the pandemic have also helped the growth of this sector. So many people have been cooped up at home and avid shoppers used online stores to feed their shopping habits. Simultaneously, lockdowns also saw thrifting stores and online re-sale platforms bursting with inventory, as people took the time to purge unused items from their wardrobes during the lockdown clean-out frenzy.
Online thrifting in South Africa
When it comes to online shopping South Africans are spoilt for choice with e-commerce clothing platforms such as Superbalist, Zando and Takealot offering a wide range of fashion and products. However, the thrift industry seems to be giving the big online retailers a run for their money.
Yaga is one such platform that has been gaining traction with South African thrifters, growing in popularity thanks to endorsements from local fashion influences who have been using the platform to re-sell their clothes, shoes and accessories. Recently launched in South Africa, the online re-selling platform offers a space for South Africans to sell and buy pre-loved, unworn and new fashion items safely and with ease.
After a slow start, the app is now one of the leading online thrift stores in South Africa, with various user-friendly features. The like button and messaging tools enable buyers and sellers to interact with each other to negotiate discounts, chat about product availability, and more. The app encourages safe shopping and selling with secure in-app purchases and offers affordable shipping methods through Paxi and Aramex.
Since Covid-19 came into our lives, online thrifting and re-commerce platforms like Yaga have taken over Instagram and other social media platforms. Consumers are loving the fact that they can use platforms such as Yaga to shop safely online whilst also being aware of their carbon footprint.
Zahirah holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Science and is an aspiring young journalist. She is passionate about human rights, inclusive spaces, and female empowerment. In her free time, she can be found writing, meditating, and kickboxing.