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eBay and Rakuten Bet Resale Shoppers Will Flock to Japanese Fashion

eBay

As consumers look for more affordable ways to get unique and/or high-quality apparel, eBay and Rakuten are testing to see if U.S. consumers will jump at the chance to buy secondhand Japanese fashion.

Rakuma, the resale arm of Japan-based technology company Rakuten Group, is testing a partnership with eBay to gauge U.S. interest in secondhand Japanese fashion goods, Reuters reported Wednesday (May 22). The collaboration seizes on the current favorable exchange rate due to the yen’s weakness as well as on consumers’ overall value-seeking behaviors.

“Because of the use of cases and covers and such, these secondhand goods are in quite good shape,” Rakuma General Manager Kenichiro Hasegawa told the news outlet, noting that Japanese resale luxury goods have a positive reputation around the world. “To say something is ‘used in Japan’ gives some immediate value.”

Earlier in the month, in announcing this partnership, Rakuten noted that in 2023, for the second year in a row, eBay Japan noted that Japanese merchants on the platform saw the most strength in the categories “Women’s Apparel & Bag Brand Accessories” and “Watches, Parts & Accessories.” As such, the test of this collaboration will focus on these two categories.

The company also stated that it would provide logistical support for Japanese merchants to sell in the U.S. on eBay and that the companies expect demand to be fueled by an uptick in U.S. interest in resale goods.

U.S. consumers are buying secondhand fashion more. PYMNTS Intelligence’s “Consumer Inflation Sentiment Report: Consumers Shop Secondhand Stores as Often as Other Retail” drew from a survey of more than 2,300 U.S. consumers in December. It found that 43% of consumers bought a secondhand product in 2023. Among these resale shoppers, clothing and accessories were the most purchased category.

Supplemental research from the study found that consumers who purchased resale products last year bought most of their clothing and accessories secondhand, purchasing only 42% of such items new from retailers. These shoppers estimated that buying used clothing saved them 32% on cost.

Additionally, deal-seeking U.S. shoppers are showing an inclination toward of East Asian goods, as can be seen in the expansions of discount retailers Daiso and Miniso.

“The U.S. business has been kept in a very high-growth speed for a lot of quarters,” Miniso Chief Financial Officer Eason Zhang told analysts last week on Miniso’s earnings call. “According to our data, we have achieved 130% CAGR for our sales in [the] U.S. between [2021 and 2023]. In this March quarter, the same-store sales [in the] United States still maintained a very high growth of 30% to 40%. And that is one of our resources of our inner confidence about the United States market.”

Overall, consumers are looking for ways to save. The February/March installment of the PYMNTS Intelligence “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report” series, which drew from a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. consumers, found that half of shoppers have switched to less expensive merchants due to product price increases.

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