For Czechs, shopping for used items has sometimes been taboo and whereas second-hand shops aren’t unusual, few individuals readily admit to purchasing in them.
“Individuals normally share their enjoyment of buying second-hand garments solely with a circle of household and shut associates,” concluded a 2019 examine on Czech purchasing habits, authored by the analyst Marketa Rulikova.
“Not sporting model new (and brand-named) clothes additionally suggests, for a lot of Czechs, an lack of ability to offer for the household, a too acquainted misery remembered from the socialist previous.”
However the financial affect of the COVID-19 pandemic, topped by spiralling inflation and vitality costs, has led to a second-hand purchasing spree.
“We now have by no means had such takings as in these previous few months,” says Monika van den Berg, of Second Czech Republic, an NGO that runs a number of second-hand, charity retailers throughout the nation.
Second-hand gross sales have elevated threefold nationwide since final 12 months, the Affiliation of Social Accountability, an business physique, advised native media earlier this month.
What’s modified? Some assume it’s style. Czechs are more and more eco-conscious whereas shopping for second-hand typically means high quality.
“We predict that the growth is partly attributable to our supply,” says van den Berg. “We promote clothes of the highest quality and excellent manufacturers as a result of approach we kind donated clothes.”
“The client will get excellent high quality clothes for a minimal worth,” she mentioned. As a result of the clothes has been worn but continues to be in good nick, it’s an indication of fine materials.”
The obvious issue, although, is price.
Inflation has been hovering because the flip of 2022. It was as much as 17.2 per cent in June, the very best on file. Economists predict it might nonetheless climb increased.
On the similar time, vitality costs are additionally rising and there is a widespread sense that issues will get a lot worse as winter nears. As of June, Czechs have been as pessimistic as they’ve been for greater than a decade about the way forward for family consumption and saving, based on the OECD’s client confidence index.
Naturally, extra shoppers have turned to second-hand items as they tighten family spending.
Clothes costs, as an illustration, are presently up by 19.9 per cent and footwear by 15.4 per cent in comparison with final 12 months, based on the most recent knowledge from the Czech Statistical Workplace.
“Individuals within the Czech Republic have been more and more apprehensive about their monetary scenario, attempting to spare each haler,” mentioned Lukáš Kovanda, chief economist with Trinity Financial institution. “They restrict particularly spending on non-essential gadgets and garments, clothes or sneakers are amongst them.”
“This pattern will likely be much more pronounced in coming months and quarters as the general financial scenario within the Czech Republic additional deteriorates, probably resulting in a substantial surge (within the) unemployment charge subsequent 12 months,” he added.
However brick-and-mortar shops aren’t being overrun by low cost hunters.
As persons are tightening their belts, firms are additionally making it simpler to look on-line for second-hand bargains. Many thrift retailers now promote their wares on social media. Some have on-line shops. Conventional distributors of recent and branded clothes are additionally getting in on the second-hand market.
In April 2021, the Germany-based on-line retailer Zalando, which sells throughout Europe, launched its web site’s “pre-owned” class within the Czech Republic.
By including this part, “we are able to bridge the hole between the enjoyable of trend purchasing, freshness and self-expression, alongside extra sustainable trend consumption and unmatched comfort,” a Zalando consultant advised Euronews in a press release.
Since they launched the “pre-owned” part of the positioning throughout Europe in 2020, the class has grown from 20,000 to greater than 400,000 gadgets, together with the Czech Republic, the place “prospects’ suggestions… has been very constructive.”
Provide can also be driving the second-hand growth.
In some instances, reminiscent of for charity retailers, items are donated. Now on-line platforms are more and more making it simpler for individuals to promote their used items to different consumers, benefiting from the fast-growing e-commerce market within the Czech Republic, which noticed a 14 % bounce final 12 months to be value round €9.1 billion, based on Heureka Group, certainly one of Europe’s largest worth comparability web sites.
In 2019, Czech entrepreneurs launched Knihobot, an e-commerce platform that permits individuals to purchase and promote used books. In 2020 it boasted income of round €700,0000 crowns; final 12 months it was as much as greater than €3 million. Based on media stories, it goals for €12 million this 12 months.
Economists name this “re-commerce”. Inflation and rising family prices aren’t simply creating extra discount hunters; they’re additionally pushing extra individuals to promote their very own items.
Vinted, a Lithuania-based on-line market for getting, promoting and exchanging items, has round a million registered members utilizing the Czech platform, which might be round a tenth of the nation’s inhabitants.
“Platforms like Vinted generally is a good place for individuals to mitigate the affect of inflation on their very own pocket by promoting issues they not want, and we all know persons are motivated by the monetary advantages of second-hand, in addition to the environmental facets,” says Lilly Berns, Vinted’s PR supervisor for Germany, and Southern and Japanese Europe.
There’s nonetheless room for growth within the “re-commerce” sector.
Vinted, as an illustration, just lately linked prospects within the Czech Republic and Poland, which means individuals in each international locations can now purchase and promote their second-hand items to one another.
It additionally added pet care and leisure classes, “giving individuals extra possibilities to promote and purchase preloved life-style gadgets,” mentioned their PR supervisor.
“In comparison with the first-hand market, the second-hand trend sector nonetheless has big potential to develop, and we consider in its constructive improvement pushed by an increasing number of individuals across the globe selecting pre-loved daily,” she added.