More than 95% of Australians donate their unwanted clothing, according to a report by online retailer Reluv. 

The recently released Fashion Resale in Australia 2022 report was created in collaboration with Monash University students.

The report found that 73% of Australians buy pre-loved clothing, with environmental concerns being the main reason people are shopping pre-loved (77.9%), followed closely by economic reasons (70.4%).

A fifth of respondents added that they began shopping second hand within the last three years.

Meanwhile, of the 73% who buy pre-loved clothing, most are favouring brick-and-mortar stores as their preferred source when it comes to shopping secondhand.

The Gen Z market are the more likely to shop in-store, at 46.34%, followed by 34.72% of Baby Boombers, 29.65% of Millennials, and 27.44% of Gen X.

“While Facebook Marketplace and Online Marketplaces such as eBay and Gumtree are popular peer-to-peer platforms for consumers of all ages, it is interesting to note that Gen Z are more likely to purchase their secondhand clothing from alternative sources at higher rates than other age groups, including local markets and social commerce sites like Depop and Carousell,” the report read.

It also noted that the five most popular fashion items are tops, outerwear, bottoms, dresses and jumpsuits, and jumpers and knitwear. The least popular items are sleepwear, activewear, jewellery, footwear, and accessories (scarves, belts, hats).

“When shopping for second-hand clothing, consumers consider a variety of factors beyond just what type of item it is they are purchasing,” the report continued. “With fast fashion producing increasing quantities of lower quality items, it is no surprise that a garment’s condition and composition are important factors for people shopping pre-loved.

“Respondents reported that the condition of an item, its price point, the material composition of the garment, and the item’s brand all play an essential role in the decision-making process.”

While 95% of respondents said they’ll donate their clothes, 36.5% will gift and pass on unwanted clothing to friends, family, or acquaintances, and 33.9% will resell their garments through marketplace platforms, buyback programs, consignment stores and similar outlets.

“Interestingly, 54% of people who do not buy pre-loved fashion will donate their clothes, while almost 40% of people who buy pre-loved fashion will donate their clothes,” the report continued. “This is due to pre-loved fashion purchasers being more likely to seek alternative methods of disposal for their garments.”

While those who do not buy second-hand clothing are more likely to donate, the report found that they are twice as likely to discard their clothes through waste streams than those who shop pre-loved.

“Resale businesses have an opportunity to grow by meeting the needs of existing second-hand consumers by incorporating some qualities of the existing new fashion market into their operations,” the report read. “The most popular suggestions given by respondents included resale businesses allowing consumers to return unsuitable items and suggest improving size variety and availability.”

The survey collected data from 270 Australian individuals between August 17 and September 15. It was voluntary and anonymous and included questions on current trends, opportunities, and challenges within this industry.

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