Jul 4, 2022
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Online interest in fast fashion plummets as secondhand surges

Jul 4, 2022

Nobody’s suggesting that the giants of online fast fashion are about to go out of business any time soon, but it seems that they are facing challenges and a new study shows that interest in online fast fashion is plummeting with shoppers instead looking for secondhand alternatives and returning to the high street.

Photo: ASOS - DR

Of course, while this may be a sign of problems for such e-tailers, it's also a sign of shopping habits ‘normalising’ after a prolonged period driven by the pandemic that saw an unusually large volume of purchases via those online giants as shoppers were either unable or unwilling to visit physical stores.

The study from MediaVision using its Digital Demand Tracker tool analyses search data from AdWords and Google Trends. And it found that the volume of brand searches for secondhand clothing retailer Preworn has jumped by 344%, while resale marketplace Vinted is up 62% in the past six months and searches for Vestiaire Collective have increased by 17%.

This is likely to be part of the longer-term trend away from fast fashion and towards pre-loved for sustainability reasons as well as part of a cost-of-living-crisis-based trend.

MediaVision said that in the same period, online brand searches for ASOS-owned Topshop were down by 60%, with a 45% drop in searches for MissPap. Missguided has seen search volumes for its name fall by 21% since the start of the year, although this could also be due to the well publicised problems that the brand has faced this year so it will be interesting to see how it does as Frasers Group takes over and relaunches it.

At the same time as consumers have been looking for more pre-loved and less new fast fashion, they've also been looking for indie brands and the study said that searches for partywear label Lavish Alice, for instance, are up 182%. Again, this could be a new trend and could also be connected to the fact that a more normal level of socialising has returned post-pandemic. Meanwhile, searches for never fully dressed are up 72% and for Revolve are up 71%.

The data also showed a 28% surge in interest for Coach and 23% for Net-A-Porter, while searches for Agent Provocateur fell 22% and Brand Alley fell 36%.

The analysis also found a significant increase in search activity for those brands with a high street presence, as UK shoppers returned to physical stores post-pandemic. Searches for Moss Bros were up 127%, again suggesting shoppers are once more looking for formalwear, while searches for Dune rose 100% and those for Phase Eight were up by 81%.

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