The impact of fashion on the environment has become a focal point over the years, especially as the industry embraced fast fashion.
Fast fashion is a strategy by which clothing brands continuously produce new designs, manufacture them cheaply in low wage countries, and get items into consumer hands quickly for fast sale.
In addition, shoppers, especially among the younger generations, have become more environmentally conscious and are looking at ways to recycle clothes hanging in their closets.
While environmental concerns have been changing buying choices on marketplaces like eBay where pre-worn clothes have been sold for years, the current inflationary climate is also fueling the trend to purchase used or pre-loved clothing.
Often, savvy consumers can find stylish, unique, or name-brand clothing on eBay for less than the original purchase price. It’s a great way for shoppers to update their style on a budget.
When eBay teamed up with UK’s hot reality show Love Island to replace the usual fast-fashion brands such as I Saw it First and Missguided, it further encouraged the buying of ‘pre-loved’ clothing and started to make headlines across the country.
This season, eBay provided the contents of the cast’s wardrobe every night throughout the series.
It also hosted a shopfront on the Love Island app that directed fans to the eBay style edit inspired by the Islander’s outfits.
This integrated strategy directly connected the trendiness of wearing previously worn items with eBay’s desire to highlight the marketplace as being the top destination for pre-loved fashion.
But did it work? That is what eBay listing optimization experts Optiseller wanted to find out.
“As data lovers and experts, we couldn’t wait to analyze the relationship between this exciting partnership and listing behaviors,” said Raymond Booth, Chief Technology Officer at Optiseller.
“We gathered data from selected fashion stores on eBay UK who have listed some of Love Island’s most loved, and similar, brands.”
“We then monitored the number of listings pre- and post-partnership announcement and gathered sales data for these stores.”
“The split was then broken down to men and women; used, new and unknown; clothing, shoes, accessories, and handbags.”
“We were then able to determine the impact of Love Island on the accessibility of pre-loved clothes on the marketplace – and these were the results.”
Listings and Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) by Brand
Taking a look at the difference between men’s and women’s listings by brand, there is a clear difference between the two. Women have more brand-name fashion choices to pick from.
This makes sense given the continuously changing trends in women’s fashion, while men’s fashion trends are more consistent.
The top 5 clothing brands listed for men were higher-end and designer brands such as:
- Marks & Spencer
- Hugo Boss
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- Ralph Lauren
Whereas the top listed brands for women’s clothing were:
- New Look
- Pretty Little Thing
Optiseller found that Zara had the highest GMV of any clothing brand listed on eBay UK regardless of gender.
Zara listings generated 43% higher GMV than Hugo Boss, which generated the second-highest GMV of the brands analyzed.
While the highest GMV contains the same high-end brands filtered for men, the pattern is the same for women, with cheaper high street and fast fashion brands generating the most sales.
The data suggests that men are investing in higher-quality fashion, while women are buying more affordable items.
One other interesting observation is that women’s handmade clothing both new and old is generating a high GMV. It’s actually the second highest across all clothing categories.
What this shows is that sustainable ‘slow fashion’ produced by independent sellers designing and making their own products is a valuable alternative take on sustainability.
Total Listings, Stores, Pricing and Listing Age
In terms of availability, Optiseller found that women’s fashion had more listings by far with 21.9K stores listing used clothing in the brands assessed, and just 15.2K for men.
Also, there is a huge difference in the average price for these pre-loved listings with an average of £12.21 for women versus £25.00 for men.
Ultimately, the data showed it is far simpler for women to find affordable pre-loved items, but men have access to higher-end items.
Optiseller suggests this could reflect the culture of shopping with women snapping up items quicker. The average listing age for clothing in the women’s category was 37.27 days versus 38.43 days for men.
Effect of Love Island on Total Listings
Optiseller doesn’t think the data is just a coincidence. The company compared the number of listings before the Love Island partnership announcement with key dates in the series, and it believes even Love Island haters can’t ignore the stats.
For example, examining live listings on March 28, Optiseller found that the listing behaviors were like before the partnership announcement.
But on May 30th, just about one week after the announcement, there was a 990% increase in the number of live listings. Since then, the listings posted have been consistently higher than at the start of the year.
Pre-loved fashion listings have increased exponentially over the space of three months. Looking at March 28 (before the collaboration) and then comparing it with June 27 (with Love Island in full swing), there was a massive increase of 1026% in live listings in these weeks.
Authenticity of Designer Fashion Items
In June 2021, eBay introduced authentication for handbags in the UK. Since then, the company has added trainers (sneakers) and watches.
This authentication process makes it safer and easier to list/sell used high-end items as eBay will authenticate items, offering buyers the trust they will receive exactly the item as described in the listing.
This has become a core strategy by eBay which makes buying designer items safer, more accessible and also sustainable.
Optiseller says this is definitely on trend as shoppers are making more ethical purchase decisions rather than fast fashion purchases for their wardrobe.
With eBay’s authentication service, buyers can feel as confident about pre-owned products as if they were buying new, avoiding disappointment caused by misleading images and descriptions.
Optiseller Conclusion on eBay Love Island Collaboration
“The future of selling pre-loved items looks bright, with fashion leading the way for other industries,” said Richard Falconer, Chief Operations Officer at Optiseller
“The burst in listings over the past 3 months has paved the way for development in this industry.”
“There have already been various moves to improve the buyer and seller experience on the marketplace with authentication processes established, now that eBay have seen such an uplift, there’s no way they’ll be stopping here!”
“This marks a new era of pre-loved selling with accessibility at an all-time high, and the influence of the Love Island cast shifting public opinion from buying second hand being a necessity, to shopping pre-loved because they can.”
“Ultimately, I think we can all agree that eBay are the true winners of Love Island 2022.”
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