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The term pre-loved is like a nicer word to replace second hand or used. To phrase it better, it just means items that were previously loved. In definitions, second hand is a consumption of all used apparel, footwear, accessories, books, furniture, entertainment, and beauty. However, the most sought after is the clothing, shoes & accessories segment which lead to a cultural thing in fashion & trends setters. There are 3 most important reasons people buy pre-loved items:
− Cheaper priced but still get the same quality as new (Segment A – Mass Market)
− Pre-loved items have become treasures for consumers seeking a unique individual style (Segment B – Trend Setters & Followers)
− The history, story & sentimental value which the items carries makes them more valuable than their conditions to their buyers (Segment C – Collectors)
Vintage is the term refers to items which was produced in 20 years past. Most of them are used or pre-loved but there’s some of them are still unused or best referred as NEW OLD STOCK. Usually the value will goes up multiple times from its original price because the production of them might have stopped resulting limited quantity available in the present market compared to the demand they received.
Malaysia is the second largest importer of used clothing globally (USD154 mil.) after Pakistan. The industry had begun since the late 1970’s and the demand risen up significantly over the past 10 years. Malaysia imported the most from Japan (USD69.9 mil.) and South Korea (USD28.9 mil.) in 2017.
The Market Segmentation
There are 3 types of consumers for pre-loved items in Malaysia:
SEGMENT A – Mass Market
This is the starting point where pre-loved items becomes relevant to society because consumers can find high quality products with very much cheaper price. Pre-loved shopping allows consumers to access the kinds of styles they want within a budget they can afford. For example you can buy a Nike jogging shoes with only paying 30% of its retail price. Obviously for this market segment price is the major attraction and this is where the most of the consumer came from.
SEGMENT B – Trend Setters & Followers
This segment is more focus on vintage clothing, shoes & accessories consumers. The fashion culture set by famous celebrities in the US where they wear vintage band tshirts or vintage dress and that turns out to be a phenomenal trend within their fans & followers. Celebrities like Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber was seen wearing their vintage tour t-shirts on Instagram. In Malaysia, this trend is more popular with online seller community because they manage to get the supplies easily here in the past years and found their way to sell it online through international online marketplace such as eBay, Etsy, Grailed & Bump.
Since the demand are more coming from the US, they make better sales selling vintage band t-shirts abroad because locally, the culture are still quite new. We can see no Malaysian celebrity bring that culture here and this is what Lokein will try to shape the market. For the past few years, we can see the trend for pre-loved items has shifted from minority group of fans to a larger community who shares some particular same interest such as music, hobbies and of course fashion. Their reason is not only because of a limited budget. Actually a lot of people with high income and even celebrities like to buy second-hand designer items and vintage pieces. The main reason it’s because they want to stand out and develop their own unique style.
Besides the ‘cool’ factor of consuming high-end designer brands or rare piece of vintage collections, this segment of consumers are also keen to make the pre-loved concept as an investment to gain high profitable income by selling their stuffs to where there are demands; which primarily through online marketplace. Thanks to the emerging market and demands of vintage clothing from international countries such as USA, UK and Japan, until today Malaysian online sellers became successfully well-paid just being a full time online seller on sites like eBay, Grailed & Etsy.
However, not all of them got through the hall of fame because of the strict policy in some of the marketplace applies and also the saturated market due to increment of sellers day by day. So they take the easy way out by selling on social medias which resulting several security and reputation issues since social media wasn’t made to conduct business properly. With the existence of Lokein as the first online marketplace in Malaysia which build to address such problems, we believed that the online sellers for vintage and preloved items will increase significantly.
SEGMENT C – Collectors
Although they are minority, the collectors are the ones who keep the pre-loved ‘scene’ alive & interesting. Ideally they are more into history and sentimental values. Most of them have broad knowledge about anything related to vintage. There are various types of collectors from cars, motorcycles, music, clothes, shoes, army uniforms, watch, furniture, books, toys & many more. They can be split into two groups, one which they are not collecting because the items have high reselling value. They just collect it for sentimental values or because of the story behind that somehow related to their personal life.
The other group of collectors are the resellers. They aim to sell their collections once it reach its peak time and the price already goes up. It must be very intriguing just to realize that there is a story behind every pre-loved piece of clothing or items. It’s not just an item anymore but a luxury piece that was cherished by the previous owner and share happy and set moments of life with them. For these collectors, price isn’t an issue because they’re willing to spend thousands of dollars just to have that particular item in their collection. The condition of the items is also subjective. Normally items with NOS (New Old Stock) tends to be pricier but collectors buy not to wear them or some of the items are actually unwearable at all.
HOW VINTAGE ITEMS BECOMES A CULTURE MOVEMENT IN FASHION & LIFESTYLES?
One thing to be clear is that not all vintage items are valuable. If you have a 30 years old frying pan bought in England, it wouldn’t worth more than the price you pay at the first time. There are certain conditions which brings value to something. To be more focus, there are three (3) main factors which contributes largest influence to make a vintage valuable.
1 – MUSIC
The most searched online are vintage band t-shirt. Ranging from 1970’s to 1990’s bands, tour t-shirts gets more attention to collectors & trend setters. Some t-shirts was sold for thousands of US dollars because of its high demand but limited in quantity. For the past few years, celebrities was seen wearing vintage t-shirts and instantly becomes a trend worldwide. In Malaysia, online sellers made fortune selling band t-shirts on platform like eBay, ETSY & Grailed since the demands keep on coming from USA. Not only for rock bands t-shirts, hip hop & rap t-shirts also have high demands. Names like Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Tupac Shakur are the most search and rarest to find in the market.
Besides the official merchandise, anything worn by the bands or artists also got highlighted by the fans. For example the POLO Stadium jacket worn by several hip hop artist was so popular within vintage collectors and made the price goes up. In some cases, the brands get to be popular just because some celebrities or artists wear them. For example the Converese One Star sneakers was made popular by Kurt Cobain, the front-man of a rock band Nirvana who reported shot himself to death and he’s wearing that particular model of shoes on that day.
2 – MOVIES
Movies plays an important role in giving influence to the vintage cultural movement. We can see the SCHOTT bikers jacket worn by TOM CRUISE in 1980’s hit TOP GUN become a must-have item for vintage fashion enthusiast. Same goes with GREASE movie with JOHN TRAVOLTA iconic ROCKABILLY style becomes a trend even after 30 years since the film debut. These vintage community actually search for the same item worn by Travolta at preloved or thrift shop. The LEVI”S 501 selvedge worn by the actor in the movie became a benchmark for the sellers to add more values for their items to sell.
Sometimes not just clothing that catches their attention. Even small details like what brand of wristwatch the actor wears in a particular movie also got to be the reason for added value. For example the G-Shock watch worn by Mark Wahlberg in the Italian Job movie sells for higher price compared to other model within the same year of production. These added values is what makes the items rare and special to their fans.
3 – SPORTS
Just like music and movies, sports also is an entertainment medium which connects with lots of people. The name like MICHAEL JORDAN who can be said to start the merge between sports & hip hop fashion culture. We can see that hip hop artists become a big fan of all Air Jordan models (Air Jordan-Nike’s shoes specially made for Michael Jordan). Although some of them still can be bought at retails store, however there a few limited edition made it to the top of the shelves.
According to Thredup annual resale report, secondhand market will reach $51B In 5 Years, growing 21 times faster than the retail market over the past three years. Moreover, the data collected by GlobalData says that by 2028 used fashion could reach $64 billion in sales outperforming fast fashion which may only reach $44 billion. It makes sense. Over the last five years, online platforms like Grailed, Poshmark, Depop, and TheRealReal have created a seamless way for shoppers to buy used and vintage clothing without having to rummage through racks and racks of clothing at second-hand shops.
Second hand clothing or preloved has become the latest trend where they were worn by celebrities, sold at high-end shops, and glamorized on the Internet, thrift has become a thrill-seeking, good-doing mode of consumption. Lokein as an online marketplace came on the right time to cater the needs of these isolated community in Malaysia yet they are getting bigger with the acceptance from the masses about wearing used clothing. From the observation made, the consumer for this community are divided into two (2) segments. Both segments consist of sellers & buyers.
a) Low-end consumers
People in this segment are more conservative type of consumers. They originated from the basic style of used clothing traders and buyers who are more focus on the regular trend they used to follow from the beginning they started to do business. To put it simple, these people are sellers at flea market, car boot sales, run day-to-day basis business selling variety types of used clothing. They usually get their supplies from major local suppliers (came in bulk-bale) and they will sort the items according to their types and market price. It is common that they are more to selling cheaper price items with several premium items such as vintage band t-shirt and such. Their customers are also with the same characteristic which they are more in searching for cheaper price. Most of their customers are also resellers which explain why they don’t buy expensive items. Majority of these customers will resell it online on international marketplace such as eBay, Etsy or Grailed.
However, for the past couple of years, there are some changes happening where we could see that the sellers & buyers from this segment has evolved and blending in with the other segments. It’s nothing to be surprise because they are the one who have close connections with the suppliers and when they start giving attention to what is in trend, they definitely can get the supplies.
b) High-end consumers
Different from the low-end, these player are more laser focus on selected items. If they’re sellers, they will only sell high-end items with much more expensive price. Most of them are really into fashion and up-to-date with the current trend. They sells premium stuffs like high-end street wear, high-end vintage designers and valuables collector’s items. Majority of them are international online sellers who sells on eBay, Etsy, Grailed & Bump. Some of them already succeeded in building great reputation from their international customers.
The customers from this segment are also the money spending type who could spend thousands of ringgit on a single purchase. Previously these buyers only buy from outside through online marketplace like eBay. So once they knew that the items they’re looking for are actually can be bought directly from local sellers, they take that opportunity wisely. It will not be any issue if they were buying offline where they can meet the sellers. The problem is when they bought it online through social media where there are no secure payment guarantee. This is what lokein offer to solve their problems with a proper online marketplace with secure payment gateway with money back guarantee.